What's Going On With the Volcano?
Current Conditions Courtesy USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
August 26, 2016 - 8:54 AM HST
Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The 61g lava flow continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna and produce scattered breakouts on the coastal plain and pali. The flow poses no threat to nearby communities. The summit lava lake level dropped slightly during the past day and the surface is about 37 m (120 ft) below the crater rim this morning.
Summit Observations: The circulating lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remains active. The deflationary phase of the DI event that began Wednesday evening continues, though the tilt rate has slowed during the past day. The lava lake level has dropped in concert with the tilt, and the lake surface is approximately 37 m (120 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu this morning. Tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering continue. The average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 4,000 to 4,300 metric tons/day over the past week.
Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcam images show no significant changes at Puʻu ʻŌʻō; intermittent views show that persistent glow continues at the long-term sources within the crater. There was no significant change in seismicity during the past day. The tiltmeter on Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone did not record any significant net tilt over the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 270 metric tons/day when last measured on August 25.
Lava Flow Observations: Activity of the 61g lava flow, extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea's south flank, continues. The flow is entering the sea at several places near Kamokuna, spanning about 1 km (0.6 mi) of coastline, and building an increasingly large lava delta at the base of the sea cliff. Scattered breakouts continue, predominantly on the pali and the makai (seaward) portion of the coastal plain.
As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry (location where lava meets the sea) for Flow 61G, there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.
Please see these fact sheets for additional information: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/fs152-00/
July 15, 2016 - Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Lava Flow Updates
Kīlauea summit eruption viewed from Jaggar Museum
July 5, 2016 - Hawai‘i volcanoes National Park Press Release - Rangers Urge Park Visitors to View Latest Flows from Safe Distance
Please view this four minute video - "Plan for Safe Viewing of Lava Flows"
This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea's East Rift Zone lava flow field at the coast. The area of the active flow field as of August 12 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 19 is shown in red. The base is a Digital Globe image from January 2016.
Full resolution image (opens in new window)
This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea's East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of July 26 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 2 is shown in red. Lava reached the ocean on the morning of July 26. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.
The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth's surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).
Full resolution map (opens in a new window)
This image shows a thermal map of the flow on the pali and coastal plain, created from airborne thermal images. White pixels are hot, and show areas of active surface breakouts. The background image is a satellite image collected before the current lava flow was active.
The thermal map shows scattered pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain, with a narrow lobe of lava crossing the gravel road and extending to the ocean. The ocean entry has widened since it first formed on Tuesday, July 26, and now spans about 240 m (260 yards) of the coastline.
Full resolution image (opens in new window)
July 3, 2016 - County of Hawai‘i Civil Defense Agency Press Release (pdf 110KB)
Kalapana viewing area status (recorded message): 808-430-1966
Directions to Kalapana from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park: Take Hwy 11 towards Hilo to Hwy 130. Follow Hwy 130 until you reach the road's end and the visitor parking area. (45 miles).
HOT LINES for Eruption Information
Resources for more information about the lava flows:
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
County of Hawai'i Civil Defense
The lava lakes in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and Halemaʻumaʻu crater, as well as other views may be viewed on webcameras made available by the scientists at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Daily updates by staff that monitor Hawaiʻi's volcanoes provide visitors with the most recent observations on volcanic conditions.
If you are interested in more information about the Kīlauea east rift zone, we invite you to watch the video cast of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist Mike Poland from our After Dark in the Park presentation on August 23, 2011. Mike discusses the volcanic history of the area. It's one hour in length and can be viewed here