Thursday, June 14, 2018

Eruption Update

In general, things are maintaining the status quo. Fissure 8 is continuing to fountain lava at about the same height, but it's not so visible because the spatter has built a cone around it that's a bit over 150' high now....and growing. Will it slow down or get bigger? When will it stop? No one knows. 

(USGS photo) Above, that's fissure 8 on the right and the lava river in the left. There's some beautiful photography coming out of this eruption. 

The lava river is still flowing with incredible volume, about 25,000 gallons of molten lava a second. Yes, a second. It ends up flowing into the ocean down at Kapoho and has created around 250 acres of new land. Hey, wanna buy cheap land in Hawaii? 

(USGA photo) Above, the new lava land. The red is pahoehoe lava flows down by the coast. At night the lava glow turns the clouds brilliant red. 

Kilauea summit is in a cycle of deflating then producing a minor explosion of ash and steam. It's happening about every 20 hours. The floor and walls of Halema'uma'u are gradually crumbling into the hole left by the receding lava. The caldera is also sinking. Giant ground cracks are appearing around the crater as the ground subsides. The summit is gradually caving in. As more material sinks into the throat of the volcano, earthquakes occur with the shifting and the cracking. Eventually the pressure gets too high and explosion of ash and stream, generally going 5,000 to 10,000 feet (as measured above sea level, and since the summit is already 4,000 feet high, so the plume isn't all that spectacular as it first sounds.) for the past several days Kilauea has been maintaining this cycle and no one knows what will happen next. 

(USGA photo) If you haven't seen Halema'uma'u before, you have nothing to compare this photo to. But take my word for it, the summit has changed dramatically. It's all sinking into a gigantic pit. 

By the way, each time the summit explodes, the people living in Volcano Village feel shaking like a 5.4 earthquake. It's not truly an earthquake, but that's what it feels like. Now imagine what's that like every night. Yup, the cruel sadistic gods are timing the explosion for between midnight and 5 am. 

1 comment:

  1. Pretty amazing photos; they really helped illustrate your descriptions. Sounds like things are still up in the air on your island. I'm glad your getting back to somewhat of a routine. Hopefully things will continue to improve.