Madam Pele seemed to step aside as Lane, Hector knocked on Hawaii’s door

Updated: Aug. 27, 2018 at 12:43 PM HST
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KILAUEA VOLCANO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even before Tropical Storm Lane paid a visit to Hawaii, many people wondered how an active volcano like Kilauea would interact with a storm system.

Some speculated online that a hurricane would solidify flowing lava, the winds would spread the toxic gasses or the heat from the volcano would intensify (or kill) the storm.

But three weeks ago while Hurricane Hector neared the islands, it seemed as if Madam Pele had sought shelter from the impending storm herself as activity at Kilauea drastically reduced to almost nothing.

At the time, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists were unsure how long the lull in activity would last.

Three weeks later, Kilauea remained calm as yet another system, Hurricane and Tropical Storm Lane, threatened the state.

But with the reduced activity at Kilauea, it's hard to say what impacts Lane had on the volcano, and vice versa.

The impacts that were detectable were minimal, HVO scientists said over the weekend.

Scientists say the during the severe weather, minor rockfalls at the summit along with steaming from Pu'u 'O'o and Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) increased, but overall there were no major changes.

The biggest impact Lane probably had on Kilauea was man-made. Scientists say the storm knocked out communication with several monitoring stations on the east side of the island. Scientists say the loss of communication with the stations slightly reduced their ability to monitor conditions, but not by much.

Scientists are keeping their watchful eye on Kilauea despite the calm activity.

"Seismicity and ground deformation are negligible at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. On the volcano's lower East Rift Zone (LERZ), a small lava pond was visible deep within the fissure 8 cone from a Hawaii County Fire Department overflight Saturday morning," scientists said.

Ocean entries were oozing lava and laze plumes were minimal. "Sulfur dioxide emission rates at both the summit and LERZ are drastically reduced; the combined rate is lower than at any time since late 2007," officials added.

Aerial photos from above fissure 8 also show a much different, calmer scene than two months ago.

It's not exactly known what caused the pause in the intense eruptions, but scientists will continue watching Kilauea and every change that takes place.

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