It’s been a while since I last did a volcano update. Nothing much has changed as the Kilauea eruption goes. It is nearly eight weeks since eruptive activity started in Leilani Estates.
Fountaining and lava continues at the East Rift Zone with Fissure 8 (Pu’u Leilani — my unofficial name) building its cinder cone and sending lava downslope to Kapoho. All of the Vacationland subdivision and several others have been completely wiped. Lava has filled in the old bay with a new 300+ delta building up in its place. The lava flow continues at a steady level.
At the summit, Halemaumau crater continues to deepen and expand as its sides have fallen into the caldera.
Homelessness, relocation, and federal financial relief are some of the issues that former residents of the area are dealing with.
On another note the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has reduced the threat level of 13,680 foot high Mauna Loa volcano from “Advisory” (yellow) level to “Normal” (Green). The normalization of Mauna Loa’s status is attributed to seismic levels are “no longer at an elevated level of activity.” A reduced rate of earthquakes over the last six months are one of the factors contributing to the normalization.
Mauna Loa last erupted for 22 days in 1984 sending a lava flow to within 4 miles above Hilo town. Eruptions of Mauna Loa tend to produce much more lava than Kilauea and can impact many communities to the northeast, east, south and southwest of the volcano.
Today we start a new series highlighting selected videos or video producers as the Kilauea eruption at Leilani Estates moves into its second month starting tomorrow, June 3.
The video above shows eruptive action from Fissure 8, which I am calling (unofficially) Pu’u Leilani. The fissure is building up a sizable cinder cone in the area. If it continues for a long time and the cone grows larger, it could rival that of the now dormant Pu’u O’o more than 13 miles away to the west.
Andrew Richard Hara is a professional photographer who has captured many images of the dynamic beauty and the distressing images that tell the story of the Kilauea eruption in lower Puna. He maintains a Vimeo channel, a website with is own domain and is active on Facebook. Many of his images have been licensed to various organizations.
“Hawaii – Island of Fire” is an insightful report into the Kilauea eruption and its impact on the residents of Leilani Estates as well as the government officials who are tasked with managing this disaster.
While the eruption of Kilauea has been nothing short of spectacular and tragic at the same time, it is with note that I remind readers that the eruption’s lava flows are impacting less than 5% of the Island of Hawaii (Big Island).
While sensational reports of the eruption have been shown worldwide, officials at the State and County of Hawaii remind would-be visitors that Hawaii and the Big Island is open for business. The port in Hilo is open as well as all of the airports on the Big Island and the rest of the state. Tourists are encouraged not to cancel travel plans. Those visiting the Big Island are urged to patronize island businesses in the Puna and Volcano area.
The USGS map below show the impact of the active lava inundation areas as of May 28, 2018.
Be sure to check our Hawaii Volcano Videos collection on YouTube. It is a 500+ list of the most relevant videos pertaining to the current eruption with some historic ones thrown in.
There is no doubt in my mind that the lava from this phase of the eruption will make it to the ocean by tonight or sometime in the next two days if the current level of activity continues. Seems like many of the fissures have joined and a new cinder cone may be in the making.
I am not a geologist, but only speculating in what could come next. Check all of the YouTube videos that I have compiled. You will see people’s reactions to the lava, news bulletins, more aerial shots, and commentary from the brave videographer residents who have chosen to stay in lower Puna and document all of the activity for the world to see.
As of early this morning, eruption of ash from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit has generally increased in intensity. Ash has been rising nearly continuously from the vent and drifting downwind to the southwest. Ashfall and vog (volcanic air pollution) has been reported in Pahala, about 18 miles downwind. NWS radar and pilot reports indicate the top of the ash cloud is as high as 10,000 to 12,000 feet above sea level, but this may be expected to vary depending on the vigor of activity and wind conditions.
Ash emission from the Kilauea summit vent will likely be variable with periods of increased and decreased intensity depending on the occurrence of rockfalls into the vent and other changes within the vent.
At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.