LIVE BLOG: Updates from USGS, Civil Defense on Puna lava threat - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

LIVE BLOG: Updates from USGS, Civil Defense on Puna lava threat

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PAHOA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

(Saturday, April 11, 2015 8:55 a.m.)

Three areas of breakouts in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field in the East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano continued to be active. All breakouts are within 7 km (4 mi) of Pu'u 'O'o. Kilauea volcano continued to host an active lava lake at its summit. 

Glimpses through the rain and fog on webcam views confirm continued activity at all three breakout sites near Pu'u 'O'o: the Feb. 21 breakout on the northern flank of Pu'u 'O'o, the March 09 breakout originating near Pu'u Kahauale'a, and a forked breakout 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Pu'u 'O'o. 

The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu'u 'O'o recorded very slight inflation over the last day, with intermittent instrumental noise evident in recent data. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 430 tonnes/day when last measured on March 30. 

Tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit did not record any significant tilt during the past several days. Seismic tremor continued at the summit with episodic bursts accompanying spattering and temporary drops in lava level. The area of the Southwest Rift Zone that has been seismically active lately was quiet during the last day. Sulfur dioxide emission rates averaged 5200 - 7800 tonnes/day for the week ending April 7.


(Saturday, April 4, 2015 7:17 a.m.)

Three areas of breakouts in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field in the East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano continue to be active, all are within 7 km (4 mi) of Pu'u 'O'o. Kilauea continues to host an active lava lake at its summit.

After yesterday's overflight, HVO geologists reported continued activity at all three breakout sites near Pu'u 'O'o: the Feb. 21 breakout on the northern flank of Pu'u 'O'o, the March 09 breakout originating near Pu'u Kahauale'a extends about 2 km (1.2 mi) northward but is not burning forest, and a forked breakout 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Pu'u 'O'o that has become more active over the past week. Overnight, webcams showed that these three areas of breakouts continued to be active.

Yesterday, HVO geologists noted that a small collapse pit had formed since the last overflight (possibly on March 18 based on the occurrence of a tilt offset) in the western portion of Pu'u 'O'o crater. The surface opening was about 27 m (90 ft) in diameter but the chamber below was much larger. The floor of the collapse pit was about 80 m (260 ft) in diameter, about 24 m (80 ft) below the pit rim and it hosted 2 active lava ponds. The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu'u 'O'o recorded minor variations. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 tonnes/day when last measured on March 27.

Tiltmeters at Kiauea's summit continued recording a modest amount of inflation - about +1.6 microradian since April 1. The summit lava lake level continued to rise about another meter (about 1 yard) over the past day. Summit tremor continued at slightly lower, but steady, levels suggesting that spattering is more-or-less continuous. Sulfur dioxide emission rates averaged 4500 - 8300 tonnes/day for the week ending March 31; the higher numbers probably resulted from long spans of continuous, rather than intermittent, gas emissions between March 25 and 31.

(Monday, March 30, 2015 7:57 a.m.)

Webcams showed overnight that three areas of breakouts continued to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field located to the northeast of Pu?u ?O?o: the northern flank of Pu?u ?O?o (Feb. 21 breakout), an area near Pu?u Kahauale'a, and an area 3-4 mi northeast of Pu?u ?O?o. Last Tuesday's HVO overflight showed that the farthest northeast breakout area was continuing to burn forest.

(Sunday, March 29, 2015 9:16 a.m.)

Webcams showed overnight that three areas of breakouts continued to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field located to the northeast of Pu'u 'O'o: the northern flank of Pu'u 'O'o (Feb. 21 breakout), an area near Pu'u Kahauale'a, and an area 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Pu'u 'O'o. Tuesday's HVO overflight showed that the farthest northeast breakout area was continuing to burn forest. 

The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu'u 'O'o continues to show no significant tilt. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 tonnes/day when last measured on March 20. 

Tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit recorded no significant tilt during the past day. The summit lava lake level has been steady since yesterday's report, at about 35-40 m (115-130 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Summit tremor has been steady and somewhat elevated during the past several days. Sulfur dioxide emission rates averaged 4700 - 6300 tonnes/day for the week ending March 24.

(Saturday, March 28, 2015 9:01 a.m.)

Three areas of breakouts in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field in Kilauea's East Rift Zone continue to be active, all are within 6 km (4 mi) of Pu'u 'O'o. The Alert level was reduced to WATCH on 03/25/15 owing to the decrease in immediate threat during the past several weeks. Kilauea continues to host a lava lake at its summit.

Webcams showed overnight that three areas of breakouts continued to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field located to the northeast of Pu'u 'O'o: the northern flank of Pu'u 'O'o (Feb. 21 breakout), an area near Pu'u Kahauale'a, and an area 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Pu'u 'O'o. Tuesday's HVO overflight showed that the farthest northeast breakout area was continuing to burn forest.

\The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu'u 'O'o continues to show no significant tilt. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 tonnes/day when last measured on March 20.

Tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit recorded a flattening out of tilt during the past day, following about 5 days of steady but gentle inflationary tilt. The summit lava lake level has been steady since yesterday's report, at about 35-40 m (115-130 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Summit tremor has been remarkably steady and somewhat elevated during the past several days. Sulfur dioxide emission rates averaged 4700 - 6300 tonnes/day for the week ending March 24.

(Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:17 p.m.)

HVO is downgrading the volcano alert level for Kilauea from WARNING to WATCH. 

Eruption of lava continues at both the Pu'u 'O'o vent on Kilauea Volcano's East Rift Zone and in Halema?uma?u Crater at the volcano's summit. However, in recent weeks, the Pu'u 'O'o lava flows nearest to the town of Pahoa became inactive. 

Because the immediate threat from the June 27th lava flow has been reduced, we are reducing the alert level.

Presently, the only active surface lava occurs in four separate breakouts from the main lava tube within three areas in the upper 6 km (4 mi) of the flow field below the Pu'u 'O'o vent. Lava from these breakouts is moving slowly atop earlier flows and along the margin of the June 27th and the Kahauale?a (2013-2014) flow fields. 

Based on the rate and trajectory of these active flows, we anticipate that it will be at least months before lava could reach to within 1 mile or 1 week of homes or infrastructure. The ultimate trajectory and path of the lava flow depends on how lava activity evolves in these areas. 

Should breakouts along the northern margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, the resulting lava flow will likely follow steepest lines of descent that approach the Hawaiian Acres and Ainaloa subdivisions.

Should the breakout heading towards the south margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, the resulting flow will likely parallel the East Rift Zone and approach the Pahoa area.  At this time, reoccupation of the lava tube that fed lava flows toward the Pahoa Marketplace area is unlikely. 

Should this occur, however, delivery of lava farther downslope to the currently inactive extent of the June 27th lava flow field could happen more quickly, perhaps within weeks. This assessment is based on continued lava production at Pu'u 'O'o at current eruption rates and vent location. Should the eruption rate increase significantly or the locus of eruption shift to a new vent, the conditions of lava flow advance and associated threat could change quickly. 

HVO will continue to monitor the volcano closely in cooperation with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense.  

(Wednesday, March 25, 2015 8:54 a.m.)

As of yesterday morning's HVO overflight, three areas of breakouts continued to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field located to the northeast of Puu Oo: the northern flank of Pu?u ?O?o (Feb. 21 breakout), an area near Puu Kahauale'a, and an area 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Puu Oo. 

Yesterday's overflight, along with webcam images show that the farthest northeast breakout area continues to burn forest.

(Tuesday, March 24, 2015 7:45 a.m.)

Three areas of breakouts in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field in Kilauea's East Rift Zone continue to be active, all are within 6 km (4 mi) of Puu 'O'o. Kilauea continues to host a lava lake at its summit. 

Three areas of breakouts continue to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field, northeast of Puu 'O'o: the northern flank of Puu 'O'o (Feb. 21 breakout), near Puu Kahaualea, and 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Puu 'O'o. Webcam images show the furthest northeast breakout area continues to burn forest. Just before midnight, a small lava flow erupted from Puu 'O'o central vent and was entirely confined to the crater. The tiltmeter on the north flank of Puu 'O'o continues to show no significant tilt. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 tonnes/day when last measured on March 20.

(Monday, March 23, 2015 8:35 a.m.)

Three areas of breakouts continue to be active in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field, northeast of Puu 'O'o: the northern flank of Puu 'O'o (Feb. 21 breakout), near Puu Kahaualea, and 5-6 km (3-4 mi) northeast of Puu 'O'o. Scattered tree burning continues to be visible in webcam images from the furthest northeast breakout. Hawaii County Civil Defense reports very little activity in the downslope portion of the flow field, closest to Pahoa.

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