Kīlauea volcano eruption update
Lava crosses Apa‘a Street, enters Pahoa
Update Sat 25 Oct 21:12The lava flows have now crossed the Apa'a Street and thus, formally, entered the area of the village of Pahoa.
The lava flow advance accelerated Thursday and has been progressing along 2 lobes with speeds of up to 10 meters per hour.
The first lava touched the road at around 3:30 am local time this morning, just south of the evacuated Transfer Station (waste plant).
So far, no evacuations are on order for Pahoa itself, but the situation is becoming tenser with each hour as lava continues to approach inhabited areas. If current rates of lava flow advances continue, first evacuations could become necessary within 3-5 days.
Lava flows approach Apa'a road in Pahoa
Update Fri 24 Oct 14:23
The rate of advance of the flow, now at 21 km distance from its vent, has been highly variable, from an average rate of about 80 m/day during the previous week to rates as high as 300 m/day (330 yd/day) at times from Monday to Wednesday.
If the advance of the lava continues at current rates, the first lava to touch the Apa'a road could occur within hours or days. A mobile monitoring station was installed to continuously keep track of the progression of the lava.
For the time being, no evacuations are ordered for residents of Pahoa or Kaohe Homesteads, but the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station will close on Friday and will be temporarily (or permanently) relocated to an area on Kauhale Road approximately 2 km to the east, where it is thought to be outside the path of potential lava flows following the dominant topographic slope.
Reopening of Chain of Craters road
As a response to the increasing threat of lava entering Pahoa and interrupting highway 130, the government decided to start works to reopen the "Chain of Craters Road", closed since November 1986 when lava flows from Kupaianah'a and later from Pu'u 'O'o vents began to cover an approx. 18 km long section of the road along the coast, mostly during the 1990-2000s.
The reason to open the Chain of Craters Road is to provide an alternative access to the south-eastern part of Big Island in case of interruption of road 130. The estimated cost is between 12 and 15.5 million USD.
Halema'uma'u lava lake
On the summit, the lava lake inside Halema'uma'u crater has been more or less stable. A small collapse of a part of the crater wall during the night 19-20 Oct produced a violent degassing phase, or an explosion, which likely ejected incandescent bombs to the outer crater rim - and would have been extremely dangerous for any observers there:this is the main reason the area is closed to visitors.
Source: HVO / Culture Volcan
Lava flow continues to advance slowly towards Pahoa
Update Fri 17 Oct 14:46
The June 27th lava flow advancement has slowed, with the leading edge of the flow moving only a few tens of meters (yards) over the past two days.
Nevertheless, active breakouts persist around the flow front, as shown in this photo by the continued burning of vegetation along the flow margins. On 15 Oct morning, the flow front was 1.1 km (0.7 miles) from Apaʻa St., as measured along a straight line. (HVO / USGS)
Lava pressure returns, flows reestablish pathways
Update Tue 30 Sep 20:31Following several days of increased pressure at Kilauea's summit, lava activity is picking up on the June 27th flow with new flows continuing to move to the north, on a pathway leading slightly away from the town of Pāhoa for now.
Lava activity is present wherever the pressure has caused "leaking" from the lava tube system, not only close to the stalled front but also farther "upstream". However, the fact that there is plenty of lava returning to the flow front indicates that this pathway remains open, and the flow will most likely gain momentum and pick up speed over the next several days.
The threat is not past for Pāhoa, but this is certainly a positive development for the small town. The threat to the county highway continues although delayed, and work continues on several bypasses through the lower communities while work on the Chain of Craters road has been underway for about a week. New routes for power lines are also under development, so that the impact will theoretically be minimized once the lava does eventually cut off the highway. Several small private schools have already closed due to the uncertainty, but most everyone else continues to watch and wait.
Aerial view of lava flow system on September 29, 2014 by USGS-HVO.
Latest eruption map.
Screen capture of Kilauea tilt signal on September 30, 2014.