Kīlauea volcano eruption update
Update Sat 30 Nov 10:11Eruptive activity has remained essentially unchanged over the past weeks. The summit lava lake in Halema'uma'u continues to rise and fall with the ongoing cycles of inflation and deflation. No lava flows currently reach the ocean as the Peace Day flow is probably no longer active.
At the middle east rift zone, the Pu`u `O`o vent continued to feed the Kahauale`a 2 lava flow that was active as small scattered breakouts burning forest to the northeast.
Update Tue 24 Sep 19:31Lava effusion through the tube system of the Peace Day flow continues. Due to blocking of the former tube, new breakouts of surface flows are currently found and accessible on the upper pali in the Royal Gardens area at about 16000 ft elevation (about 3-4 hours one way hike).
Lava returns to Peace Day tube above Kalapana
Update Thu 19 Sep 02:20
There are signs of life on the Peace Day lava tube downhill of Pu`u `O`o, with scouts reporting lava flows at the surface around the 1600 foot elevation within but near the top of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. This flow appears to be moving downhill and access will get closer & easier with coming days, but reportedly is already on private land belonging to one of the Kalapana ohana.
There are certainly safety, logistic & legal issues to work out given the need for new hiking routes and different hazards presented by a different volcanic terrain, but in this particular case it's not unreasonable to be hopeful that there will be a legal but more difficult access to lava flows in a matter of days instead of weeks. Similar flows in the past have taken days to weeks to make it to the flats where there is easier access. At any point, there's never any guarantee of a viewing on any particular day as the volcano is subject to change with little notice, and we must really consider it a blessing that lava flows have been accessible safely and relatively easily, and most remarkably, continuously for the previous year and a half.
Meanwhile elsewhere on the volcano, glow from Kīlauea's summit is as bright as ever, visible on recent clear nights by many residents through the forest in nearby Volcano Village. The best viewing point remains the Jaggar Museum within the National Park, and lava lake levels in the Overlook Vent in Halema`uma`u crater remain near record highs for this phase of the eruption, surely a sign of things yet to come at the volcano's summit. The lava itself is not directly visible from the overlook, at least not yet at the time of this writing... but the orange glow in the evening, and especially at sunset and sunrise, just gets better and better.
There are still lava flows active within the Kahauale`a Forest Reserve, burning a little of the forest but also flowing in the interior of the thickening flow field to the north of Pu`u `O`o. This area remains out of legal access based on the multiple hazards associated with that part of the volcano -- quickly moving lava flows, unstable ground, methane explosions, forest fires, volcanic gases & smoke not least among them -- but it can be viewed legally from the air, dependent on occasional rain in the area.
Reports are that there are some nice lava flows visible from the air in this area, but that perhaps there is not enough volume flowing there to account for the disruption of the Kalapana lava flows. Thus it's not surprising to hear of renewed activity along the Peace Day tube, the pipeline to recent lava flows near Kalapana, to account for some of the missing volume. The final piece to understanding what's happening with the volcano right now is observing a contraction of its summit in the GPS signal, which may account for the rest of missing volume of lava compared to what we have seen in recent months.
In any case, these are still glory days on Kīlauea, regardless of how close we can get on a day-to-day basis, as we get to witness and be a part of Pele's continual changes! I urge everyone to appreciate what you CAN see today and how special that is in the grand scheme of things. Good luck to all of us on our upcoming viewings!
Kalapana activity pauses; lava focus inland
Update Mon 09 Sep 03:25
However, in the past few weeks this activity has gradually diminished, with first one then the other ocean entry coming to a halt, and just within the last day all lava activity on the coastal plain of the volcano has come to a pause. In the past, these pauses have lasted from several days to several months, and occasionally signal a bigger change in the character of the volcano's eruption.
Also immediately important is a large lava flow-field developing north of Pu`u `O`o which has increased in activity over the past few weeks. On our overflight this morning, this area hosted at least a dozen of breakouts within the thickening flow-field, which apparently has diverted most or all of the flow from Kalapana.
At the summit, the overlook vent lava lake remains persistently high with no significant changes so far this year, with fantastic glow still visible for volcano visitors. As only time will tell when this balance will shift again, we will continue to watch and enjoy the changes of Kīlauea! A hui hou!
Monday, Sep 09, 2013
In the past few weeks activity in Kalapana has gradually diminished and entered a pause yesterday, while lava has become more active in the remote region north of Pu`u `O`o during the same timeframe. Pressure levels are still high on the summit and east rift zone. [more]
Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
Some impressions from Kilauea taken by Yashmin during our latest Round-The-World tour in April 2013 [more]
Saturday, Apr 20, 2013
The eruption has not changed significantly over the past weeks, with continuing activity in both the summit lava lake and lava flows on the rift zone, reaching the sea. ... [more]
Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013
Lava flows continue entering the ocean since November 2012 in multiple points, due to increased pressure on the volcano which is also causing other lava breakouts on the coast and the lava lakes within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō & Halema‘uma‘u craters to rise and potentially spill over. [more]
Sunday, Nov 25, 2012
For the first time in 2012, Kīlauea lava flows have entered the Pacific Ocean, adding slivers of new land to Hawai‘i Island! First contact, around 2pm today, occurred 0.3mi/500m east of the National Park boundary and about 2mi/3.5km west of Kalapana. [more]
Thursday, Nov 15, 2012
Lava flows on Kīlauea volcano's coastal plain are feeling increased pressure and have reached within 400m/0.25mi of the shoreline, and are expected to enter the ocean in the next few days! [more]
Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012
Within the past few days, Kīlauea volcano's summit lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u crater has risen to a record level within this eruption. To put things in perspective, 1 year ago the lake was 70m/230ft deep, 1 month ago it was 60m/200ft deep, 1 week ago it was 50m/165ft deep, and today it sits only 33m/110ft deep! [more]
Friday, Oct 19, 2012
Over the past month, lava flows have advanced to become accessible and continue to pool near the base of the pali on Kīlauea's coastal plain, while at the same time a faster rise in pressure is being expressed from the summit to the East Rift Zone, with a remarkable 8mm widening of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater since the beginning of October! [more]
Wednesday, Sep 12, 2012
Major deflation of the volcano's plumbing system has brought a temporary pause to active lava flows on the coastal plain, with lava flows already active above the hillside and heading downhill. [more]
Sunday, Jul 22, 2012
Over the past two weeks, many DI pressure cycles have dominated the style of eruptive activity on Kīlauea volcano, influencing the location of coastal lava flows to be closer to the ocean or to the hillside with more and less pressure respectively. Active lava flows have been accessible over private land every day except one since our last update, and during higher pressure stands the activity has often put lava just inside the National Park boundary close to the ocean. During higher pressure days, lava flows often also break out on the lower part of the hillside and can be seen from a great distance from specific points within the National Park. ... [more]
Monday, Jul 02, 2012
Despite smaller-scale pressure cycles on Kīlauea volcano, recorded as a series of 1-2 microradian deflation-inflation events at the summit, lava levels have remained high with lots of activity for visitors to experience up close or from a distance! Glow visible from the Jaggar Overlook of the newest summit crater, the Overlook Vent, continues to be spectacularly bright during the evening hours, and lava flows continue to be active on the coast and are even visible from a distance on clear nights, better from the National Park side (as shown by the USGS Hōlei Pali Mobile Cam 4). ... [more]
Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012
Over the past week and a half, lava flows on Kīlauea's coastal plain have persisted first through a low-pressure phase and now during a high-pressure phase, with the entire active flow-front advancing noticeably to with about 1km/0.5mi of the ocean. Compare today's image capture to our previous post to see this difference! ... [more]
Friday, Jun 08, 2012
Over the past week, lava flows on Kīlauea's coastal plain have been persistently advancing towards the ocean, though at a slower pace during a mid-week pressure decrease, increasing over the past day with renewed pressure. The flow front is estimated to be about 2km/1mi from the ocean still, so we await the effects of this renewed pressure at the coast! A series of webcam captures from the USGS-HVO shows the progression of these flows over the past week. ... [more]
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Following a week-long deflation, pressure returned to Kīlauea in full force, evidenced by an 8-microradian inflation at the summit! Correspondingly, the summit lava lake has returned to the previous record height of ~60m/200ft below Halema‘uma‘u crater floor, with exceptionally bright glow visible from the Jaggar Overlook over the past two nights! In the past, similar high lava stands have caused an increases in rim collapse and rarely, lava sprays visible from the museum! ... [more]
Sunday, May 27, 2012
After a week-long deflation on Kīlauea, lava flows which had reached within 0.5mi/750m of the ocean finally felt the pressure relief and came to a pause. At the time of this writing there is still low pressure on the volcano, and the longer this continues the more likely that the plumbing system will be disrupted and that lava will re-emerge in a new location -- whether on a new point up the lava tube, or even all the way back to Pu`u `O`o crater on the east rift zone. Magma continues to come into the volcano, as evidenced by continued extension, and without an outlet, sooner or later something will have to give! While there is no red lava visible on the coast today, there is still bright glow from the newest summit vent in the National Park. This is a crucial period of change for the volcano, and we all await what will happen next! [more]
Friday, May 18, 2012
Lava continues to flow on Kīlauea's coast, while its summit and rift zone continue to glow. Generally higher pressure over the past week, with fluctuations, has pushed new lava flows closer to the ocean than any time previously this year, but most are spreading out parallel to the coastline rather than directly to the ocean. Meanwhile, over the past week a new eastern flow branch developed above the pali and is now advancing down its steepest part, looking within reach of the coastal plain today. This eastern branch appears quite vigorous, and must be diverting a fair amount of lava from the flows near the coast. Stay tuned to find out if lava will reach the ocean for the first time in 2012 or if the volcano grows a new system of lava tubes or both! [more]
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Kīlauea's lava flows have surged in activity on the coastal plain accompanying inflation at the summit, though following by about 24 hours. This activity is farther from the ocean than before, relatively close to the base of the pali but moving quickly across cooling flows from the previous two months. Check out our new time-lapse movie showing the height of activity! [more]
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Since entering the National Park, lava flows have continued to slowly advance towards the ocean but have not made much ground. Pressure variations propagating through Kīlauea volcano have kept the flows from building momentum, but they have persisted sluggishly and lava flows are still visible by means of a 6-7mi / 9-11km round-trip hike from the Kalapana side. When the lava is flowing more slowly (like right now), it actually gives us a chance to approach and interact with it more easily, whereas more vigorous flows require additional safety considerations. For non-hikers, strong glow continues from the summit, visible from Jaggar Overlook & Museum! [more]
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012
Active lava flows continue to advance on Kīlauea's coastal plain and have now entered the narrow coastal strip of the National Park known as the Kalapana extension, reaching within 0.9 km /0.6 mi of the Pacific Ocean. Access to this area from the end of Chain of Craters Road within the National Park is estimated to be 8-9km / 5-6 miles EACH WAY, while only about 3 miles each way from the typically upwind Kalapana side (which requires private land access). [more]
Thursday, Apr 19, 2012
Lava levels in Kīlauea's newest crater, the Overlook Vent within Halema‘uma‘u, have reached their highest point of 70m / 230ft below the 1974 crater floor, matching conditions in March 2011 just prior to the 5-day Kamoamoa fissure eruption. Glow from the edge of Kīlauea caldera has been strong over the past month, except on exceptionally rainy nights! Speaking of the volcano's summit, it has been swelling significantly over the past 6 months - a total increase of 6cm / 2.4in across the caldera! This is not as fast as the previous 12 months, but still notable! ... [more]
Saturday, Mar 17, 2012
As expected, activity is increasing at the lava flow-front as renewed pressure propagates along the magmatic system, even as further (apparently smaller) pressure variations occur. Stay tuned for more pictures and detailed updates as our tour schedule and the eruption allows! [more]
Friday, Mar 16, 2012
Sluggish lava flows are still filling the base of the pali, with renewed pressure and increase activity expected in the next 24 hrs. [more]
Monday, Mar 12, 2012
Lava flows have advanced 0.6mi/1km from the base of the pali over the past 6 days but are still 1.4mi/2km from the ocean. Lower pressure in the volcano may cause a temporary slowdown in coming days. [more]
Sunday, Mar 11, 2012
After the eastern lava flow branch referred to in our previous post, first to reach the coastal plain in 2012, almost entirely stalled, the western flow branch has also reached the coastal plain this week, still about 2mi/3km away from the ocean. This western branch is feeding inflating pahoehoe lava flows at the base of the pali, which should continue for several days to fill in a low spot. However, this flow branch looks to have enough momentum to start travelling across the plain towards the ocean, though only time will tell! Check out our best pictures from this activity last night! [more]
Sunday, Mar 04, 2012
An eastern lava flow branch from the Peace Day Fissure has reached the plains west of Kalapana, making for spectacular views at sunset -- see our timelapse video linked below! ... [more]