Kīlauea volcano eruption update
Lava flows less than 1 km from Pahoa marketplace
Update Fri 19 Dec 09:36
The lava flow is now less than 1 km (0.7 mi) from the Pahoa marketplace. During yesterday's overflight, it was seen that had advanced about 340 m during the previous 24 hours.
Aerial view from the NE towards the approaching lava flow front near Pahoa (HVO)
Updated map of the lava flow (HVO)
Its front has split into two branches, one following the steepest descent path in the area and another following a "tributary" path to the north that intersects the main descent path a few hundred meters.
Several breakouts were also scattered along the edges and interior of the flow 2 to 3.7 km (1.2 to 2.3 mi) upslope of the flow front, similar to activity of the past several days.
Source: HVO Kilauea update
Lava flow advances rapidly, could reach Pahoa in 5 days
Update Wed 17 Dec 12:33
It is now only about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) from the Pahoa Marketplace, located near the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road.
"Since this new flow broke out from the lava tube along a crack system on about November 19, its advance rate has varied from less than 100 m/day (110 yd/day) to more than 450 m/day (490 yd/day), averaging nearly 300 m/day (330 yd/day).
From the breakout point in the crack system the flow is now about 8 km (5 m) in length, and has moved along a new calculated steepest descent path based on a 1983 digital elevation model of the ground. The steepest descent path leads to the Pahoa Marketplace. At the average rate of advance of the past week, lava could reach the marketplace and Highway 130 in about 5 days, warranting this Volcanic Activity Notice."
Lava flow again approaches Pahoa, threatens commercial heart
Update Tue 16 Dec 10:46
Its speed in the past days averaged about 250 m, i.e. it could reach Pahoa in about a week if it continues at this speed and if it continues to follow the path of steepest descent. This path, calculated by HVO, would intersect the main road near the supermarket.
According to a local press article, the staff of the supermarket will begin to evacuate it and close it to the public Thursday evening. The gas station will be closing on Friday.
If the scenario becomes reality, the lava flow would hit the commercial heart of the community. Civil Protection spokesman said that it would be the worst loss during the eruption since its start in 1983.
Slow advance of lava flow
Update Fri 12 Dec 15:09
Map of thhe lava flow near Pahoa as of 9 Dec (HVO)
Yesterday morning, HVO reported that "the leading edge of the flow was about 3.0 km (1.9 mi) upslope from the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, near the Pāhoa Marketplace.
The active lobe is following a steepest-descent path that takes the flow towards the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, in the vicinity of the Pāhoa Marketplace. The flow front has also entered a burn scar which has significantly reduced the amount of smoke seen from the flow front in our webcams.
In addition to this active lobe, a breakout from the lava tube on December 5, about 2.6 km (1.6 mi) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains weakly active. The breakout is about 1 km (0.6 mi) long, and has widened the flow field in this area by about 200 m (220 yd)." (HVO)
Lava flow continues to advance towards Pahoa
Update Fri 05 Dec 16:46
Map showing the location of the new lava flow finger headed north (HVO/USGS)
It is moving to the north at rates of several hundred meters per day. It has reached an area where several lines of steepest descent nearly converge due to flat topography. Until the flow passes this area of flat topography, the future flow path is uncertain. (Source: HVO daily updates)
New lava flow might be heading towards Pahoa
Update Wed 03 Dec 18:09The new lava lobe continues to advance and widen. As of this morning, it was only 4.3 km (2.7 miles) from Highway 130. A surge in lava supply resulted in an advance rate of 400 m per day!
At this rate it could reach Pahoa again by 12 December, if it follows the current flow path along the steepest slope to the north-northeast. If it follows another possible path, it could hit Ainaloa instead. It might even follow both paths, but it is too early to predict this.
The portion of the June 27th lava flow that entered Pāhoa in October is inactive, but a new lobe is advancing downslope a short distance west of the earlier flow. The leading tip of the new lobe is evident by its long smoke plume, caused by vegetation burning. A Civil Defense overflight this morning (December 2, 2014) showed that this active tip continues to move towards the northeast.
Lava front retreats away from Pahoa
Update Mon 24 Nov 19:29To present, USGS-HVO and County of Hawai`i report that lava has reoccupied the tube system only as far as the cracks near the old geothermal well site (recognized as a clearing in the thicker forest in photographs). From there, it has spilled out and is forming a new flow lobe farther west from the previous one which stopped just short of Pahoa Village Road and that now appears to be hardening without further advance. The current front is now 5.8km/3.6mi upslope from Apa`a St measured in a straight line, which means Pahoa has escaped its most urgent threat. The county is reopening the Pahoa Village Road today, previously blocked off as the power company reenforced their poles with huge piles of rock, which they have now removed again to allow the flow of traffic. While it's possible that the new flow could turn towards the outskirts of Pahoa again, it took the previous flow 7 weeks to reach Apa`a St and it's reasonable to expect a similar timeline again, keeping in mind that another flow front may develop near the breakout site nearby Pu`u Kahauale`a and divert much of the lava that could otherwise head to Pahoa. The next several days of lava activity should give some hint of an answer to the question. Finally, it may be noteworthy that there has been increased earthquake activity south of the caldera, with a 3.6 and 3.3 felt by area residents in the past 3 days.
USGS-HVO/NASA image of active flow areas on November 22, 2014.
USGS-HVO photo of lava activity escaping crack system more than 3mi/5km from Pahoa village on November 19, 2014.
New breakouts along lava tube as surge moves downhill
Update Wed 19 Nov 18:51A new surge of lava over the past 2-3 days is moving through and leaking from lava tubes that until recently were feeding the eruption front in Pahoa village. Prior to the surge, the lava flow's forward progress had stalled once again with the little remaining activity both widening and inflating the flow field. It remains to be seen how far this surge can move through the pre-existing lava tube towards Pahoa, having so far travelled "about 11 km (7 mi) in a straight line distance downslope of Pu`u `Ō`ō" according to the County of Hawai`i and USGS-HVO.
Lava flow branch building momentum
Update Thu 13 Nov 19:57An upper branch of the active lava flow has advanced roughly 375m/400yds over the past 2-3 days to within 300m/325yds of Apaʻa Street, on the other side of the recycling & waste transfer station.
Lava also continues to fill the driveways surrounding that facility and continues to threaten nearby power poles, which have been upgraded to steel, heavily insulated to a height of ~5m/15ft, and sprayed with water and foam by firefighters as part of this evolving experiment. Finally, the flow near the cemetery continues to widen to the north after burning the first residence in the area.
Pressure at the summit has fluctuated but generally remains high, giving no indication of any decrease of lava flows in the near future.
USGS-HVO photo of active lava flow areas on November 12, 2014.
Latest update map from USGS-HVO showing the quickening lava flow branch.