Kīlauea volcano, Hawai'i: New Eruption Filling Summit Crater

Fri, 1 Oct 2021, 01:19
01:19 AM | BY: T
New lava lake in the summit crater of Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i (image: USGS)
New lava lake in the summit crater of Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i (image: USGS)
Geologist Philip Ong from our team on Hawai'i published the following summary of the start of the new eruption on Hawai'i on Hawaii Tracker:
New eruptive fissures opened inside Halemaʻumaʻu crater at Kīlauea volcano's summit at 3:20pm on Wednesday, September 29th, 2021, and by this next morning have filled the crater with approximately 60 feet, or 18 meters of additional lava, covering an area of 112 acres or 45 hectares.
The lava lake, crusted and cooling since the end of the most recent eruption in May, finally seems poised to rise enough to be visible to visitors from public overlooks within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, where the eruption is wholly contained and posing little threat to people apart from its gas.
Following last month's intrusion under the south caldera, seismic activity dwindled even as ground inflation quickly resumed, suggesting that magma continued to supply to the volcano from below without interruption. Finally, the volcano reached a breaking point, suddenly expressing a quick rise in ground tilt along with a swarm of earthquakes, the largest of which registered as a magnitude 3.1, and within an hour lava was spotted at the surface by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams. The USGS correspondingly raised Kīlauea's alert status, first from Yellow/Advisory to Orange/Watch, and shortly thereafter to the current Red/Warning level.
Time-lapse captures from the USGS webcams show that fissures emerged through the center and at the edges of the crusted lava lake, which still retained a core of liquid lava, as well as through the wall of the crater producing several lava cascades into the quickly-rising lake. The initial and largest fountains appear just east of the famous large lava island left over from the previous eruption, quickly flooding and covering almost the whole crater floor with fresh lava, drowning all the lava terraces and islets that made up the previous surface. The last eruption's West Vent was also surrounded, but the lighter cinder material now appears to have been buoyed upwards after an injection of lava at its base, possibly forming a new, smaller lava island.
The original bigger lava island also appears to have detached from the previous hardened crust now, seen to float upwards as the lava level rises this morning.
As during the December 2020 eruption, the initial rates of lava output are fairly high, but likewise may not be sustained. Ultimately, that factor will largely determine the course of Kīlauea's newest eruption. We will continue to report and annotate the changes in the coming days, sharing both USGS and citizen science observations.

Source: Hawaii Tracker

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