Kīlauea volcano eruption update
HVO lowers volcano alert level, Pahoa safe for now
Update Thu 26 Mar 17:57
"The eruption of lava continues at both the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone and in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at the volcano’s summit.
However, in recent weeks, the Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows nearest to the town of Pāhoa became inactive. Because the immediate threat from the June 27th lava flow has been reduced, we are reducing the alert level.
Presently, the only active surface lava occurs in four separate breakouts from the main lava tube within three areas in the upper 6 km (4 mi) of the flow field below the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent. Lava from these breakouts is moving slowly atop earlier flows and along the margin of the June 27th and the Kahaualeʻa (2013-2014) flow fields. Based on the rate and trajectory of these active flows, we anticipate that it will be at least months before lava could reach to within 1 mile or 1 week of homes or infrastructure.
The ultimate trajectory and path of the lava flow depends on how lava activity evolves in these areas.
Should breakouts along the northern margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, the resulting lava flow will likely follow steepest lines of descent that approach the Hawaiian Acres and Ainaloa subdivisions.
Should the breakout heading towards the south margin of the June 27th flow field become dominant, the resulting flow will likely parallel the East Rift Zone and approach the Pāhoa area.
At this time, reoccupation of the lava tube that fed lava flows toward the Pāhoa Marketplace area is unlikely. Should this occur, however, delivery of lava farther downslope to the currently inactive extent of the June 27th lava flow field could happen more quickly, perhaps within weeks.
This assessment is based on continued lava production at Puʻu ʻŌʻō at current eruption rates and vent location. Should the eruption rate increase significantly or the locus of eruption shift to a new vent, the conditions of lava flow advance and associated threat could change quickly.
HVO will continue to monitor the volcano closely in cooperation with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense. Daily updates will continue.
[Lava flow] Active lava flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō are slowly advancing atop earlier flows and along the margins of the June 27th and Kahaualeʻa (2013-2014) flow fields. At current rates of eruption and flow advance, it may be months before lava could approach homes and infrastructure. This time frame could change quickly if eruption rate or location of lava emission changes significantly.
[Volcanic gas] Significant amounts of sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gasses continue to be released into the atmosphere from both Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Halemaʻumaʻu.
[Ash fall] Small amounts of ash consisting of volcanic glass (Pele’s hair) and pulverized rock may drift downwind from Halemaʻumaʻu.
[Other hazards] Methane explosions are possible along the margins of active lava that flows into vegetated areas. These explosions can hurl large blocks of lava rock and heave the ground suddenly and without warning.
Remarks: The Pu`u `Ō`ō vent in the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano began erupting on January 3, 1983, and has continued for more than 32 years, with the majority of lava flows advancing to the south. Over the past two years, lava flows have issued from the vent toward the northeast. The June 27th flow is the most recent of these flows and the first to threaten a residential area since 2010-2011.
Update Thu 26 Mar 18:00
Update Thu 29 Jan 09:45
Map of the June 27th lava flow as of 26 Jan (USGS / HVO)
June 27th lava flow remains active, but stays at 600 m distance from Pahoa
Update Fri 23 Jan 09:30The June 27th lava flow remains active, but its advance has been mainly in form small and slow breakouts along its margins, widening it. The most advanced flow front is still 600 m upslope from Highway 130 near the Pāhoa police and fire stations.
Lava flow remains stalled
Update Tue 13 Jan 12:38HVO reports that "the tip of the June 27th lava flow remained stalled; however, active surface breakouts up slope of the front continued.
A narrow flow lobe about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upslope of Pahoa Marketplace continued to advance toward the north-northeast. This morning, Civil Defense reported that this lobe has advanced about 14 m (15 yds) since yesterday."
Lava flow remains active, but no immediate threat for Pahoa
Update Wed 07 Jan 12:11
"Surface breakouts along the distal part of the flow were scattered between 1 and 3.5 km (0.6 and 2.2 mi) upslope from the Pahoa Marketplace and posed no immediate threat. Amongst this activity, a narrow flow lobe (about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upslope from Pahoa Marketplace) was advancing toward the north-northeast.
This lobe has entered a drainage that leads to the steepest-descent path that crosses Highway 130 about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the Makuʻu Farmer's Market, but the flow is still 3.5 km (2.2 mi) uplsope from that point and moving slowly. Small breakouts were also active in an area of persistent activity about 7 km (4 mi) upslope from Pāhoa." (HVO status update)
Lava flow stalled at 530 m from Pahoa, but remains active
Update Wed 31 Dec 11:57
The flow had advanced about 150 m since December 27. Many small breakouts were also active along the length of the flow up to about 3 km (2 miles) upslope from the front of the flow, as well as within the ground crack area near the True/Mid-Pacific well pad and about 3 km (2 miles) downslope from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (HVO Kilauea updates)
Lava flow front currently stalled at 600 m distance from Pahoa
Update Thu 25 Dec 11:19
Lava flows slow down, give Pahoa some hope
Update Mon 22 Dec 17:44The lava flow advance has further slowed down, giving Pahoa some hope it might not reach it or at least not as soon as feared.
"Since yesterday ,the leading edge of the active flow had advanced about 78 m since Saturday morning flight, and is currently about 0.6 miles (1.0 km) up slope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Rd. This number reflects an overall decrease of advancement rate during the past several days." (HVO)
Slow lava advance
Update Sun 21 Dec 08:06
Lava flow continues to advance, but at slower rate
Update Sat 20 Dec 15:52
Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow continues to advance downslope toward the Pahoa Marketplace. This photo is of a small breakout from the edge of the inflated flow several hundred meters (yards) back from the active front. (HVO)
to earlier in the week, and the flow moved about 120 meters (130 yards) in the past 24 hours, HVO reported.
"A southern branch of the flow on this map was stalled when mapped this morning. The more northerly advancing branch was 0.9 km (0.6 miles) away from the back of the Pahoa Marketplace, measured in a straight line. A HAWAII County Civil Defense overflight this afternoon observed about 40 yards advance
over the past 12 hours suggesting further slowing.
While the flow fronts were slowing, there was abundant evidence of inflation indicating that both branches remained active." (HVO's Kilauea 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.