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Recent Kilauea Status Reports, Updates, and Information Releases

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE U.S. Geological Survey Sunday, February 1, 2015 8:01 AM HST (Sunday, February 1, 2015 18:01 UTC)

This report on the status of Kilauea volcanic activity, in addition to maps, photos, and Webcam images (available at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php), was prepared by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). All times are Hawai`i Standard Time.

KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The leading tip of the June 27th lava flow remains roughly 500 m (~550 yd) from Highway 130 in the area west of the Pāhoa Fire and Police Stations. The flow has not advanced since Monday, although breakouts are active upslope. Subtle summit inflation is continuing following the end of a DI event on Friday morning.

June 27th Lava Flow Observations: The Civil Defense overflight on Sunday morning confirmed that none of the flow lobes that are near Highway 130 have advanced in the past 24 hours, and the only activity observed was occurring within areas already covered by lava. Overnight webcam views suggest scattered breakouts across the lower portion of the flow field.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Eruptive activity at Puʻu ʻŌʻō has remained steady over the past several days. Webcams show a few spots of fluctuating glow emanating from small pits within the crater. Seismic tremor has been low, and no net tilt has occurred over the past 24 hours. The rate of sulfur dioxide emission from all East Rift Zone vents was about 200 tonnes per day, measured on January 7.

Summit Observations: Tiltmeters around the summit recorded subtle inflation, continuing the trend established following the end of the most recent DI (deflation-inflation) event on Friday morning. The lava level within the summit eruptive vent fluctuated due to changes in spattering behavior, which was also manifested by variations in seismic energy release. As has occurred several times during the past few days, a small collapse of the lava veneer from the vent wall just above the lake surface occurred at about 4:41 AM HST. Emission rates of sulfur dioxide ranged from around 4,400 to 5,100 tonnes/day during the week ending on January 27.


Sulfur Dioxide Emission Rate estimation caveat: Starting in 2014, we report the emission rate estimated by a new, more accurate method. The numbers increase by a factor of 2-4 but the actual emission rate has not changed. For more on this reporting change, please read http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=207

Background:
Summit The summit lava lake is within an elliptical crater (unofficially called the Overlook crater), which has dimensions of approximately 160 m (520 ft) by 210 m (690 ft), inset within the eastern portion of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The lake level has varied from about 25 m to more than 200 m (out of sight) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The Overlook crater has been more-or-less continuously active since it opened during a small explosive event on March 19, 2008. The lake level responds to summit tilt changes with the lake generally receding during deflation and rising during inflation. Since 2013, the lava level has been typically between 30 m (100 ft) and 60 m (200 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Small collapses in the Overlook crater are common, and over time have resulted in a gradual enlargement of the Overlook crater. The ambient SO2 concentrations near the vent vary greatly, but are persistently higher than 10 ppm and frequently exceed 50 ppm (upper limit of detector) during moderate trade winds. The gas plume typically includes a small amount of ash-sized tephra (mostly fresh spatter bits and Pele's hair from the circulating lava lake). The heaviest pieces are deposited onto nearby surfaces while the finer bits can be carried several kilometers before dropping out of the plume.

East Rift Zone vents and flow field The eruption in Kīlauea's middle East Rift Zone started with a fissure eruption on January 3, 1983, and continued with few interruptions at Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone, or temporarily from vents within a few kilometers to the east or west. A fissure eruption on the upper east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone on Sept. 21, 2011, drained the lava lakes and fed a lava flow (Peace Day flow) that advanced southeast through the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision to the ocean within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park in early December 2011. The flows stalled and re-entered the ocean starting on November 24, 2012, until activity started to decline and the ocean entry ceased in August 20, 2013; the flow was dead by early November, 2013. The Kahaualeʻa flow, which started from the spatter cone/lava lake at the northeast edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor in mid-January 2013 was dead by late April, but a new flow (informally called Kahaualeʻa 2) became active in the same area in early May 2013, waxing with inflation and waning with deflation. The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow died following the onset of a new breakout from the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on June 27, 2014. The June 27th flow advanced to the northeast, confined to old grounds cracks for part of its length, and has been slowly approaching the town of Pāhoa.

Hazard Summary:
East Rift Zone vents and flow field Lava flows from the June 27 breakout have advanced into Pāhoa and may threaten residential areas depending on their level of activity and advance rate. Near-vent areas could erupt or collapse without warning with spatter and/or ash being wafted within the gas plume. In addition, potentially-lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide gas may be present within 1 km downwind of vent areas. Active lava flows within forested areas can produce methane blasts capable of propelling rocks and other debris into the air. All recently active lava flows are within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and adjacent State land managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources or the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Kīlauea Crater Ash and Pele's hair can be carried several kilometers downwind, and potentially-lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide can be present within 1 km downwind.

Viewing Summary:
East Rift Zone flow field The June 27th lava flow is currently within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed by the Hawaii State Department of Natural Land and Resources (DLNR) due to the ongoing volcanic hazards (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/nars/reserves/hawaii-island/kahaualea/), and the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, also closed by DLNR and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2014/09/12/nr14-113/). According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense website (http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/): "The public is reminded that the flow is not visible and cannot be accessed from any public areas."

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone and Kīlauea Crater These areas are within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park; Park access and viewing information can be found at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm.

Definitions of Terms Used:

CD: Hawai`i County Civil Defense

composite seismic events: is a seismic signal with multiple distinct phases that has been recorded frequently at HVO from the Halema`uma`u Overlook vent area since its explosive opening in March, 2008. For the composite events recorded at Halema`uma`u, we typically see an initial high frequency vibration lasting for a few seconds that have been correlated with rockfalls. This is followed by about 30 seconds of a long-period (LP) oscillation with an approximately 2- to 3-second period. The final phase of the signal is several minutes of a very-long-period (VLP) oscillation with an approximately 25- to 30-second period. The LP signals are interpreted to be from the uppermost portion of the conduit and VLP signals are interpreted to be fluid passing through a deep constriction in the conduit through which lava rises to the pond surface we see in the webcam.

DI tilt event: DI is an abbreviation for 'deflation-inflation' and describes a geophysical event of uncertain volcanic significance. DI events are recorded by tiltmeters at Kilauea summit as an abrupt deflation of up to a few microradians in magnitude lasting several hours (weak DI events) to 2-3 days (strong DI events) followed by an abrupt inflation of approximately equal magnitude. The tilt events are usually accompanied by an increase in summit tremor during the deflation phase. A careful analysis of these events suggests that they may be related to changes in magma supply to a storage reservoir at less than 1 km depth, just east of Halema`uma`u crater. Usually, though not always, these changes propagate through the magma conduit from the summit to the east rift eruption site, as many of the DI events at Kilauea summit are also recorded at a tiltmeter at Pu`u `O`o delayed by several hours. DI events often correlate with lava pulses and/or pauses in the eruption at the Pu`u `O`o/Peace Day vents.

glow: light from an unseen source; indirect light.

Halema`uma`u Overlook vent: has been difficult to describe concisely. The vent is actually a pit, or crater, in the floor of the larger Halema`uma`u Crater which is, in turn, in the floor of the larger Kilauea caldera or crater - a crater within a crater within a crater. It is easiest to describe as a pit inset within the floor of a crater within a caldera. The pit is about 160 m (525 ft) in diameter at the Halema`uma`u Crater floor, is about 50 m in diameter at a depth of 200 m (660 ft) below the Halema`uma`u Crater floor. From November, 2009, to now, a lava pond surface has been visible in this pit.

incandescence: the production of visible light from a hot surface. The term also refers to the light emitted from a hot surface. The color of the light is related to surface temperature. Some surfaces can display dull red incandescence at temperatures as low as 430 degrees Centigrade (806 degrees Fahrenheit). By contrast, molten lava displays bright orange to orange-yellow light from surfaces that are hotter than 900 degrees C (1,650 degrees F).

LPs: - Long Period (LP) events refer to earthquakes that have a lower frequency or tone than typical earthquakes and are usually attributed to the resonance of fluid- and gas-filled conduits, cracks and/or chambers. Because of their association with fluids and gases, LP earthquakes in the vicinity of volcanoes can be useful for monitoring purposes. At other volcanoes LP earthquakes are also known as low-frequency earthquakes, tornillos or B-type earthquakes.

mauka, makai: Hawaiian terms for directions relative to the coast - makai or ma kai (toward the coast) and mauka or ma uka (toward the highlands or away from the coast).

microradian: a measure of angle equivalent to 0.000057 degrees.

pali: Hawaiian term for cliff or precipice.

tephra: all material deposited by fallout from an eruption-related plume, regardless of size.

tonne (t): metric unit equal to 1,000 kilograms, 2,204.6 lbs, or 0.984 English tons.

More definitions with photos can be found at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/images/pglossary/index.php.

Additional Information:
For a definition of volcano alert levels and aviation color codes: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/index.php

Maps, photos, Webcam views, and other information about Kilauea Volcano are available at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php. A daily update summary is available by phone at (808) 967-8862.

A map with details of earthquakes located within the past two weeks can be found at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic/volcweb/earthquakes/

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.

source: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

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