The 2023 Kilauea eruption

After a runup of 4 months, or 10 hours, or 1.5 hours (depending on how you look at it), Kilauea sprung back to life, in its continuing quest to recreate the summit-wide lava lake of a century ago. There is still some way to go, but comparing this morning’s glowing lake to the Halemaumau lava…

Trouble in Paradise: awakening Mauna Loa

An eruption has started at the summit of Mauna Loa. It has been a long wait! The inflation over the past month was notable, though not exceptional, but it was the drip that made the volcanic bucket overflow. We now need to see what happens. Commonly, eruptions migrate down the rift zone, in this case…

Mauna Loa from 1852 to 1868 – part 1

There has been much talk about Mauna Loa lately. Reason for this is that the earthquake levels have become increasingly elevated in past years, and even more so within the past few months, with some alarming episodes of earthquake activity at the summit. We’ve had two strong swarms coupled with rapid inflation of the caldera,…

Kilauea III. Rifts under Hawaii.

Here is the third part of my Kilauea series that was promised, a bit more delayed than I would have wished though. Many things have happened at Kilauea since the previous part. A sill intrusion took place in the Upper Southwest Rift in August, then on September 29, about a month after the sill, lava…

Kilauea II: Roots of the Hawaiian Islands

In my previous article, here, I discussed how Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are connected to each other through the Pahala Swarm. Now I have to deal with a confrontation of theories that is inevitable. There is a classical model of how Hawaii works. It is all about the mantle plume. The classical view establishes…

Kilauea I: Magma waves from the phantom rift

Each volcano is an expression of a magma architectural construction, a great sculpture of chambers, pipes and sills, as intricate as an ant colony, or rather like the roots of a plant. This is all hidden away from our view, under kilometres or tens of kilometres of rock that makes it impossible for us to…

The piggyback volcano

The expression became famous because of Isaac Newton. Never one to ignore praise, in typical English fashion he expressed his self-assured superiority in a self-effacing way: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants“. This was written in a letter to Robert Hooke, himself both an intellectual giant and…

Kilauea eruption – lavabergs, fountains and drainbacks

Kilauea is back erupting since December 20! The eruption style is typical of Kilauea, yet it’s been decades since it last showed it and many aspects have not been explained properly. The most important unanswered question being the difference between a rootless lava lake (this eruption) and a “true” lava lake. The eruption came as…

The Kilauea 2020 eruption – reading tea leaves

This is a strange end to a strange year. Kilauea erupting without even HVO noticing it until the lava was flowing, Etna exploding into life, and even New Zealand trying to get in on the action. And we were complaining that nothing was happening and we had to live off the glories of Christmas past…