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Kilauea volcano update: Lower East Rift Zone eruption continues, feeding lava flows that advance to the NE and SE, prompting evacuations in Kapoho

Fri, 1 Jun 2018, 09:05
09:05 AM | IS
May 31 helicopter overflight showing the advancing lobes from fissure 8 (not pictured but located to the right, out of view). The flow moved north of Highway 132 in the vicinity of Noni Farms and Halekamahina roads, from which the two easternmost lobes advanced in a more east-northeasterly direction while the westernmost lobe advanced in a northeasterly direction. (HVO/USGS)
May 31 helicopter overflight showing the advancing lobes from fissure 8 (not pictured but located to the right, out of view). The flow moved north of Highway 132 in the vicinity of Noni Farms and Halekamahina roads, from which the two easternmost lobes advanced in a more east-northeasterly direction while the westernmost lobe advanced in a northeasterly direction. (HVO/USGS)
May 31 photograph showing lava from fissure 8 advances on Kahukai Street, the flow being as much as 3.5 yards in height. (HVO/USGS)
May 31 photograph showing lava from fissure 8 advances on Kahukai Street, the flow being as much as 3.5 yards in height. (HVO/USGS)
This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The flow from Fissure 8 crossed Highway 132 yesterday and its front today was near Noni Farms Road during the noon overflight. In addition, Fissure 18 was producing a narrow channelized flow with the flow front 0.9 km (0.6 miles) from Highway 137. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. (HVO/USGS)
This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The flow from Fissure 8 crossed Highway 132 yesterday and its front today was near Noni Farms Road during the noon overflight. In addition, Fissure 18 was producing a narrow channelized flow with the flow front 0.9 km (0.6 miles) from Highway 137. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. (HVO/USGS)
Lava flows and fissures map as of 2:00 p.m. HST, May 31, 2018. Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015. (HVO/USGS)
Lava flows and fissures map as of 2:00 p.m. HST, May 31, 2018. Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015. (HVO/USGS)
The eruption continues at Kilauea Volcano's Lower East Rift Zone where active vents along the length of the fissure system are feeding multiple lava flows. Fissure 8 at the western part remains the most active, vigorously spewing out lava fountains up to 80 meters (260 feet) into the air and having formed a downwindsmall spatter cone of ca. 30 meter (100 feet) height. The lava flow that resulted from fissure 8's activity travelled northeast across the Puna Geothermal Venture and currently has multiple active lobes branching out which threaten Kapoho and the intersection between highways 132 and 137. The speed of these lava flows has been up to 100 yards an hour, but they advance in bursts: at times the front does not move as new incoming lava is building up the flow until it becomes unstable and the lava suddenly surges forward at speeds as fast as 600 yards an hour. Residential areas between the active lobe fronts of the fissure 8 lava flow and Kapoho have been evacuated during the night from 30 to 31 May local time. If these lava flows reach the intersection of highways 132 and 137 a large area along the coast and highway 137 will be cut off and become completely inaccessible.
In the eastern part of the active lower rift, fissure 18 also continues to erupt lava which feeds a lava flow that is slowly traveling eastward and might eventually create a new ocean entry. The ocean entries that were previously created by lava flows from fissure 22 are currently inactive, but a new flow fed from the central part of the fissure system is slowly making its way just west of the previous flow channels and might reach the ocean near Mackenzie State park. Meanwhile the National Park Service and Department of Transportation have started to clear out the 2016 – 2017 lava flows that covered the Chain of Craters Road along the coast. If the cracks on Highway 130 would become larger or lava flows would cut off this road, the Chain of Craters Road would be the evacuation road for around 1000 people living in Kalapana southwest of the currently active fissure system. The new emergency road should be ready for use within 2 weeks time.
Other hazards of lava effusion at the fissure besides destructive lava flows are high levels of sulphur dioxide near the vents (up to 12.4 ppm) and Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass that forms from high fountaining of Fissure 8 and falls out downwind.

Previous news

Thu, 31 May 2018, 08:59

Kilauea volcano update: Lava effusion continues at fissure #8 and #18, feeding lava flows advancing SE and NE, threatening Kapoho

Lava flow from fissure #8 afternoon 30 May (image: HVO / USGS)
The activity in Lower Puna remains stable at high levels with the principal vents being fissure #8 (western portion of the system) and #18 (eastern part). Both feed voluminous lava flows that continue to consume land, property and pose threats as to cut-off additional areas, prompting the need for evacuations especially in the Kapoho area. ... Read all
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Kilauea volcano
Shield volcano 1277 m (4,190 ft)
Hawai'i, 19.41°N / -155.29°W
Current status: erupting (4 out of 5) Kilauea volcano eruptions:
Near-continuous eruptions. Since 1960: 1961 (4x), 1962, 1963 (2x), 1965 (2x), 1967-68, 1968 (2x), 1969, 1969-74, 1971 (2x), 1973 (2x), 1974 (3x), 1975, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982 (2x), 1983-2018 (incl. 1986, 1992, 1997, 2007, 2011 (3x)), 2018 (lower east rift zone in Leilani subdivision), 2020 (Dec) - ongoing
Typical eruption style
Dominantly effusive since 1790, but ~60% explosive over past ~2500 years.

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