Lava overflows part of Pu'u 'O'o's crater floor
Update Thu 03 Mar 10:34
Thermal image of the lava overflow inside Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o crater yesterday morning
The activity of the volcano remains essentially unchanged. Rising magma levels under the east rift zone briefly caused an overflow of lava that erupted from a spatter cone within the southern part of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater.
This activity started around 8:15 a.m. local time yesterday (2 Mar), covered part of the crater floor and ceased at about 15:00 local time. No lava flowed beyond the crater. According to HVO, "this type of activity is not unusual for Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and does not reflect a significant change in the ongoing eruption".
At the summit caldera, rising magma levels temporarily brought the surface of the lava lake inside Halema'uma'u back in sight from the Jaggar Museum overlook in the early morning hours before receding.
Scattered surface flows remain active on the 'June 27th'flow field, all within about 6.0 km (4 mi) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and do not currently threaten any nearby communities. Seismicity and deformation are within normal levels throughout the volcano.
: HVO daily updates
Current configuration of Pu'u 'O'o (24 Feb 2016)
Puʻu ʻŌʻō has changed dramatically over the years. This map shows the configuration of Puʻu ʻŌʻō's current crater (outlined in yellow) and vents (marked in red). The base image is a mosaic created from photographs captured during a helicopter overflight on January 19, 2016. The current crater, with a maximum width of about 290 m (317 yd), is nested within a much larger crater that was present in early 2011.
The current crater is about 20 m (66 ft) deep and has distinct embayments at its northeast, northwest, and south sides. These embayments were pits when the current crater formed in mid-2014. A short distance west of the current crater is a 50-m- (~165-ft-) wide pit, informallly called the West pit, that contains a 25-m- (~80-ft-) wide lava pond. The source of the currently active June 27th lava flow is a vent on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 250 m (273 yd) downslope from the crater rim.
Pahoehoe lava field continues to grow
Update Mon 15 Feb 12:10
No significant changes in activity have occurred in the ongoing eruption of Kilauea. In recent weeks, lava from Pu'u 'O'o continued to aliment lava tubes feeding the large pahoehoe flow field to the NE.
Active outbreaks occurred mainly at its NW margins 2-5 km distance from the vent, where the lava field has been slowly eating away at the forest.
Lava flow field as of 12 Feb 2016 (HVO / USGS)
New lava pond in Pu'u 'O'o crater
Update Tue 26 Jan 11:54
View of the active lava pond inside Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o on 22 Jan (HVO)
Active lava breakouts NE of Pu'u 'O'o on 19 Jan (HVO)
No significant changes have occurred in the ongoing eruption both at the volcano's summit and on its eastern rift zone. Degassing, seismicity and deformation are at normal levels.
Summit lava lake:
The lava lake in Halema'uma'u continues to be active, fluctuating in level around 35 m below the crater rim.
Puʻu ʻŌʻō (East Rift zone):
A small new circular lava pond, approx. 20 m in diameter, has formed in mid January in the western end of the crater.
Lava flow activity:
Lava continues to enter lava tubes from the Pu'u 'O'o vents and travels approx. 6 km northeast, to feed the slowly growing June 27th lava flow field. Scattered active margins of the lava field continue to eat at the forest. There is currently no threat to nearby communities.
8 Jan 2016: Early morning explosive event at Kīlauea summit lava lake
Explosion from Halema'uma'u's lava lake on 8 Jan 2016 (HVO)
Explosion from Halema'uma'u's lava lake on 8 Jan 2016 (HVO)
A rockfall on the east rim of the summit vent within Kīlauea Volcano's Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered a small explosive event at 3:51 a.m., HST, on January 8, 2016. Explosive events like this occur more frequently when the lava lake level is relatively high, as it has been this past week—around 30-35 m (100-115 ft) below the vent rim. Rocks in the vent wall expand as they are heated by the high temperature of the lava lake and become unstable. Sections of these unstable rocks can then collapse into the lava lake.
When large rockfalls impact the lava lake, they trigger explosive events that propel volcanic rock fragments (tephra) upward. This morning's event was vigorous enough to hurl incandescent fragments onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, about 110 m (360 ft) above the lava lake surface. This Quicktime movie shows some of these fragments flying toward the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam that is perched on the rim of the crater. Rockfalls and subsequent explosive events occur with no warning, and the resulting fragments of hot lava and rocky debris thrown onto the crater rim pose a significant hazard in this area.
(Source: HVO Kilauea status update
Activity summary 28 Oct - 3 Nov 2015
Update Fri 06 Nov 06:19
No significant changes have occurred at the volcano recently. HVO reported that seismicity beneath Kilauea's summit, upper East Rift Zone, and Southwest Rift Zone was at background levels during 28 October-3 November.
The lava lake continued to circulate and spatter in the Overlook vent. The June 27th NE-trending lava flow continued to be active within 2.2-6.3 km NE of Pu'u 'O'o Crater. (Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 28 October-3 November 2015
New lava flows inside Pu'u 'O'o crater
Update Mon 31 Aug 10:14
No significant changes have occurred at the ongoing eruptino on both the summit vent (Halema'uma'u lava lake) and the east rift zone. During the past days, lava flows have resurfaced most of the interior of what is left of Pu'u 'O'o crater.
The lava lake at Kīlauea's summit remains active, and periodically rises and falls along with cycles of inflation and deflation. At the moment, summit tiltmeters have been recording deflation.
The new East Rift Zone lava flow northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains active within 8 km (5 mi) of the vent. The flow does not currently pose a threat to communities. Low levels of seismic activity continue across the volcano (HVO).
New lava covers floor of Pu'u 'O'o
Update Mon 31 Aug 10:06
A new lava breakout occurred on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō about 1:00 am on Thursday:
Update Mon 31 Aug 09:56
The map shows recent changes to Kīlauea's active East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the flow on August 5 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 26 is shown in red. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.
Halemaumau lava lake drains partially, seismic activity under SW rift zone
Update Mon 18 May 13:16
The lava lake today (USGS thermal webcam)
The same view during an overflow on 8 May
The summit lava lake has dropped significantly during the past week and is now again 50 m below the rim of the pit crater inside Halema'uma'u.
After a few days of repeated small overflows at the end of April until early May, the lake had been perched for a few days at its highest level, started to drop after 10 May, first slowly, then more rapidly. During the past days, it has stabilized at approx. 50 m depth.
The process was accompanied by rapid deflation. Where the lava drained is not easy to say with certainty. But on one hand, no significantly new or increased activity has been observed at the Pu'u 'O'O vent on the active Eastern Rift zone; on the other hand, increased earthquake activity has occurred under the SW rift zone during the same time as the deflation and lava lake draining. The latter suggests that a part of the lava lake migrated into new underground fractures beneath that area.
Whether or not this could lead to a new eruption on the SW rift zone is speculation at the moment. The SW rift zone saw its last eruption in 1974.
Halemaumau lava lake overflows, explosion triggered by rockfall
Update Wed 29 Apr 21:55
Overflow of Kilauea's summit lava lake early this morning
Explosion at Kilauea's lava lake yesterday (HVO)
For the first time since its appearance in 2008, the lava lake has spilled over into the floor of Halema'uma'u crater.
HVO reported continued although weakening inflation, sign that magma continues to rise into the caldera, which might result in further increase of the lake. "The lava lake level has been at or near the rim of the Overlook crater over the past day. At 9:40 pm last night, a very small, brief overflow occurred onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. A larger overflow occurred at 2am this morning, sending lava a short distance onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, and another overflow is occurring this morning around 8am. Seismicity is elevated beneath Kilauea's summit and upper East and Southwest Rift Zones."
An explosion from the lake was triggered yesterday morning 10:20 am local time when a rockfall from the walls of the crater occurred. Liquid lava spatter was thrown to the area around the closed Halemaʻumaʻu visitor overlook.
HVO lowers volcano alert level, Pahoa safe for now
Update Thu 26 Mar 17:57
Active breakouts on the 27 June flow as of 24 March 2015 (all far from Pahoa)
As the June 27th lava flow is no longer active in the vicinity of Pahoa town, HVO downgraded the volcano alert level for Kīlauea from WARNING to WATCH. HVO issued the following report:
"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.
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
Map of the 27th flow near Pahoa as on 10 March - no advance since then
Update Thu 29 Jan 09:45
Map of the June 27th lava flow as of 26 Jan (USGS / HVO)
The June 27th lava flow remains active, but its advance is slow. The leading edge is currently stalled roughly 500 meters from Highway 130 at Pahoa. Breakouts remain active a short distance upslope of the leading tip of the flow, and continue to slowly widen the flow.
June 27th lava flow remains active, but stays at 600 m distance from Pahoa
Update Fri 23 Jan 09:30
The 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.
Map of the June 27th lava flow as of yesterday
Lava flow remains stalled
Update Tue 13 Jan 12:38
HVO 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
Map showing the location of the lava flow near Pahoa as of 6 Jan 2015 (HVO/USGS)
The June 27th lava flow front has stayed at approx. 1 km distance (approx. 1 km) from Pahoa, but the flow itself remains active and continues to expand laterally with several breakouts:
"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
Map showing the location of the lava flow near Pahoa as of 30 Dec 2014 (HVO/USGS)
The front of the the June 27th lava flow remains stalled at 530 m from the Pahoa Marketplace, but during yesterday's overflight, several small breakouts were seen active immediately upslope from the front.
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
Map of the lava flow near Pahoa as of 24 Dec 2014 (HVO)
The lava flow front that has been progressing towards the Pāhoa Marketplace, is currently stalled at approx. 600 m distance, to the relief of Pahoa. However, several breakouts are active in several areas behind the inactive front.
Lava flows slow down, give Pahoa some hope
Update Mon 22 Dec 17:44
The 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
Map of the lava flow near Pahoa as of 19 Dec
The June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly, at a rate of approx. 100 m per day. The active northern flow front was approx. 800 m from the west edge of the Pahoa Marketplace and about 1 km from Highway 130, measured in a straight line.
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)
Advancement of the flow continued at a slower rate, compared
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
Aerial view from the NE towards the approaching lava flow front near Pahoa (HVO)
Updated map of the lava flow (HVO)
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.
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
Map of the lava flow near Pahoa as of yesterday
HVO reported that the active branch of the June 27th lava flow remains very active and advanced at an average of 285 meters per day.
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
Lava flow map as of yesterday (USGS)
The active lava lobe that has been advancing along the northern flow margin of the lava flow that had entered Pahoa in Nov, but then stopped, continues to advance towards the town and is now only approx. 1700 m away from the commercial center of the town.
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)
The lava flow continues to advance slowly towards Pahoa, but there is no immediate threat at the moment.
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)
The new lava flow finger from the 27 June flow continues to advance towards Pahoa and is now approx. 4 km (2.5 miles) above the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, near the Pahoa Marketplace.
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 18:09
The 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.
Satellite view of the advancing lava flow at Kilauea volcano
The above USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory image was acquired December 1, 2014, by the WorldView 2 satellite, and shows the activity in the downslope portion of the June 27th lava flow.
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 19:29
To 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 18:51
A 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.
Largest breakout point from lava tube near the forested hill Pu`u Kahauale`a, 1.6km/1.0mi from Pu`u `Ō`ō, on November 17, 2014 (USGS-HVO).
USGS-HVO visible and infrared image of lava flows leaking above lava tube as surge moves through on November 17, 2014.
USGS-HVO update map showing breakout locations from lava tube relative to recent activity.
Lava flow branch building momentum
Update Thu 13 Nov 19:57
An 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.