Kilauea: If wishes were horses!

Rockfall causing explosive activity at Halema’uma’u. Photograph by USGS HVO.

We humans may wish for many things, but gravity is a horse we can’t wish away. And this horse drives what is happening at Kilauea.

So far, the new stage of the old Kilauea eruption that started about one week ago has given us a very small subsidence caldera, a large earthquake, drained two lava lakes, and given us a rifting fissure eruption at the Leilani Estates. And the force of gravity is behind it all, because in the end all things must come down.

There is also a great mystery that needs to be solved. And that is were all the disappearing magma have gone. After all, roughly 0.3 cubic kilometres of magma have intruded into the East Rift, and only about 0.0001 cubic kilometre has erupted.

The last thing has so far saved most of the homes of the residents of Leilani Estate, but it might not be such good news in the long run.

But first things first, we must go back to the beginnings of the current iteration of Kilauea to understand what is happening.

The Caldera

The Overlook Vent inside the Halema’uma’u Crater inside the Caldera. It really gives perspective on the size of things. Photograph by USGS in 2009.

Subsidence calderas at Kilauea is believed to have come and gone since the volcano entered it’s shield building stage.

The current caldera formed about 1500 years ago and was followed by a prolonged era of explosive eruptions since the caldera floor had fallen below 615 meters below the caldera rim. That specific number is rather interesting, because that is where the watertable is located.

About 1 100 years ago the caldera stopped erupting explosively and large lava flows started to happen at the same time as the caldera floor started to rapidly infill. Sometime between then and 1790 the Halema’uma’u crater formed inside the caldera. The actual pit crater of Halema’uma’u is in the centre of a mini-shield volcano. The name means ‘house of the ʻāmaʻu fern’. A bit of a misnomer today since all the ferns are blasted to smithereens by now.

Inside the Halema’uma’u Crater we have the current iteration of the lava lake (there has been previous ones), it is called Overlook Vent. It formed during a series of explosions back in 2008.

The current eruption

The current eruption of Kilauea started on the 3rd of January 1983 out on the East rift zone at Puu O’o, it has mainly produced lava flows, flank eruptions, a lava lake, and other assorted mischief, but none of the activity has been really big. As mentioned above in 2008 the Overlook Vent formed at Halema’uma’u giving the current eruptive phase two different loci of activity.

In 2016 things started to change in regards of seismic activity and tilt. And after a while the lava lake inside the Overlook Vent overflowed unto the floor of the Halema’uma’u Crater.

The seismic activity continued in a waning and waxing pattern from then on until it intensified in the beginning of 2018 and concentrated out further along the Eastern Rift Zone after Puu O’o. And here is where gravity sets in.

Enter the gravity

At no place on Earth has gravity had such visible and measurable effects as at Hawaii. As the volcanoes grew they forced the seafloor and the crust below down. So much so that Mauna Kea near Kilauea is the highest mountain on Earth if you count from the bottom of the ocean floor to the top, and Mauna Loa and Kilauea are not that far behind.

The weight of these gargantuan mountains has pushed down the crust 17 kilometres. There is though a nastier side to gravity.

If you have a solid triangle pointed upwards the maximum down force (towards the Earth centre) will be at the upper point, that down force will be forwarded down the flanks of the triangle pushing the bottom corners outwards.

After a while structural weaknesses will form in the triangle and the top will crack and the sides will start to shear off. This shearing off happens far easier at a volcano that has alternating layers of lava, ash and soil intermixed.

If one side is braced against something it will not shear off. In Kilauea’s case it is braced against the even larger Mauna Loa. Only problem is that Mauna Loa is so large that it is itself going through the same “triangle-process” as Kilauea, and it is so big that it’s slow flank collapse is pushing the entirety of Kilauea 2.5 centimetres towards the ocean each year.

An interesting part is that during a slide of the side of the triangle, the top will move far less than the bottom corner of the triangle on the slumping side.

There was quite a bit of speculation about what created those earthquakes out on the East Rift Zone. Was it magma intruding? Or was it purely tectonic activity? In a way it was a question about which came first, the hen or the egg. But, in this case we do know that it was the egg.

The Leilani Eruption

Eruption at Leilani Estates.

The weight and seaward motion of the oceanside part of Kilauea had increased the strain on the Eastern Rift Zone sufficiently to start tectonic activity. This in turn created voids, and since nature abhor voids it was rapidly filled with magma from the nearby supply at Puu O’o.

As the magma drained into the dyke an under-pressured magma intrusion formed. Nonetheless, the added weight of the intruding magma was sufficient to trip the system above the threshold and an intense M7.1 earthquake occurred.

During the earthquake the top part on the seaward side of the Eastern Rift Zone moved half a metre outward, but the bottom part galumphed an astonishing 2.5 meters. Before this it was assumed that the next volcano over, the Loihi Seamount, would work as a stopping brace hindering slumps like this. Instead the side of Kilauea shoved Loihi sideways.

The earthquake caused movement that further under-pressured the dyke intrusion, and this explains why so little lava has come out compared to what has been sucked into the expanding cavity of the dyke.

So, here is a ground rule of fluid dynamics. A highly pressurized dyke will squirt out more lava when it erupts, than an under-pressurized dyke.

This might seem like a good thing to the people living around the Leilani Estate where miniature vents have cropped out. Because if there had been more pressure most, if not all, of the area would have rapidly been inundated by the first vent to open.

As it is now the pressure is not high enough to keep the vents open more than a few hours, and the amounts that flow out are miniscule.

That being said, even a miniscule amount of very hot lava entering your house is not a good thing. I am not at all making light of the plight of the Leilani residents.

But, in the end, if more lava had poured out it would have been better. Because the rapidly intruding magma is once again increasing the tectonic strain, further increasing the risk for another larger earthquake.

Now, before any ambulatory English tabloid reads this and think that I am writing that the entire side will fall off tomorrow, then you are wrong as usual. What I am is that the risk is increasing that the side might slump yet another few meters.

Back to the narrative. As the lava was sucked out from Puu O’o, both the small lava lake there and the main vent emptied out, then the shallow magma chamber was vacated and Puu O’o became a very small subsidence caldera in a few minor puffs of ash as the roof caved in.

After that the lava started to be sucked out of the lava lake in Overlook Vent at Halema’uma’u. Now we are ready to discuss what will happen, now that we know what has happened.

In the near future

In the beginning I wrote that the watertable is 615 metres below the highest point of the caldera wall. But to really understand that reference we have to go back to 1924. That year another lava lake at Halema’uma’u Crater was sucked away before earthquakes started at Puna. Same thing, but reverse order of events.

As the lava level hit the 615 metres mark the water interacted explosively with the lava and phreatoplinian detonations followed. The largest detonation created a column that was 7000 meters high.

In the end the vent that held the lava lake was destroyed completely.

In this case it means that phreatic to phreatoplinian detonations will start somewhere between today Friday and Tuesday latest, unless the lava level starts to rise again. The most likely moment for onset is on Sunday at 10.14 CET.

Prior to that explosions caused by rockfall from the cooling vent walls are probable, these rockfalls are expected to continue during the phreatoplinian phase. The current Overlook Vent is likely to be completely destroyed during this phase.

If the lava continues to withdraw to greater depth, subsidence inside Halema’uma’u Crater will occur, or even subsidence of the general caldera. The subsidence will most likely not occur through blocking of the roof, instead it will be as piston driven subsidence.

If this happens lava flows are likely to increase anywhere from western Leilani up to, and including, Puna. There is also the potential for another large earthquake, depending on how much of the pressure that is alleviated by out-pouring of lava.

But, in the end this is likely to lead to the end of the Kilauea eruption, at least for a short while. The changes in the volcano is just to big. Question is more for how long the eruption will continue, and how many months the interlude will be.

A warning

Whatever you do, do not think that breaking the law and going down into the caldera is a clever idea. If there is a phreatoplinian eruption you will be dead if you are on the caldera floor. Heed the warnings of the local authorities at all time. Staying away completely from the area around the caldera is best. Remember that all of Hawai’i Volcanic National Park is closed for general population. Being pancaked by a bus sized stone that has been lofted, is over-rated.


166 thoughts on “Kilauea: If wishes were horses!

  1. Someone with a slightly better technical acumen will soon be around to fix the link to the video.

  2. Love the exact prediction of Sunday. 10:14 CET 🙂 I’ll tune in on the webcams by then for the great show!

  3. There have been earthquakes at very shallow depth in the last day, some of them might have been auto located at a location that I think would actually be above ground but it looks like the activity is getting shallower overall. This area is between leilani and kapoho crater near where the first 1955 vents were. I think the next eruption will be here, and possibly in a month or so after it ends in that area there could be an eruption at the highway where the steaming is, though maybe not. This wont be the end of eruptions at kilauea though because it has a very high magma supply right now while in 1924 it had a low magma supply. The situation now is more similar to the period that dominated the eruptive activity in the 18th century up until the 1840 eruption, which was characterised by several eruptions per decade on the east rift and some more on the southwest rift. This is compared to the infrequent rift activity between 1840 and 1955 but constant low level summit activity for most of that time. I think either a new eruption on the east rift will start within a year, or the overlook crater will reactivate, possibly in a violent manner if the water is able to seep in.

    Pu’u o’o is still deflating slightly so all the magma up to now that has left the summit has gone into the lower rift zone. When it breaks out it could be quite big, the fissures so far have been between 260 and 200 meters above sea level and the highway steam vents are about 330 meters above sea level. The quakes now are coming from places between 100 and 40 meters above sea level, so there is some elevation difference. It is actually possible that the lava at leilani is old magma from the 1955 or 1960 eruptions and the new stuff is still underground and about to break out further east where the quakes are. HVO have taken magma samples to test this theory.

    • HVO confirmed it was “1955” lava that had erupted from the fissures.

      • That makes sense, although I am a bit surprised that 68 year old magma was still that fluid, and on top of that the 1955 magma was derived from the 1924 intrusion so this magma is effectively 93 years old and still molten. Gives a good idea on how long it takes to cool down, this intrusion could still be a conduit for another eruption at the end of this century in theory.

        I guess that means the magma from this year is still underground and it might not have even been connected to the fissures directly, it could have just squeezed old magma out of a still molten pocket while the new stuff has gone on to near kapoho crater. HVO should put another webcam on kapoho crater or the cape kumukahi lighthouse so that in the likely event that anything happens in that area it is visible.

        • I can answer that Gaz, and also put this into context for Turtle… 🙂

          USGS has tested the erupted magma. I read it yesterday.
          It is though quite self-evident that it would be old magma. The dyke is very old after all.
          As Jesper pointed out in the beginning, the lava was very cold and blocky compared to the regular Hawaiian runny lava.
          As a parenthesis, the initial hour or so of Eyjafjallajökulls main eruption was 1000 year old rhyolite. In massive dyke and sill systems lava can remain fluidish for a very long time indeed.

          The reason I did not write about it in the article is that it is irrelevant for what is currently happening and the dynamics thereof.

          • It’ll have more CO2 for one thing. Take a look at Kapoho 1960 with its 600m fountains, compared to what’s been seen at Leilani.

  4. I like the interpretation. But it does give me a question. Hydraulic hammer occurs when moving water is suddenly stopped. This causes an over pressure as the inertia from the moving water tries the continue its motion. Is there a similar term from the inertia effect of the much denser magma flowing in a confined space? That could be what we are seeing as the “pipes” burst down along the rift

  5. i aways suspect a video of someone taking a mundane picture and then something spectacular happens… i’m just wired that way…………. i question everything…… except mice… never question mice… 😉

  6. ‘Fumes’ coming into view to the far left on the lower rift cam in Hawaii…. they should move the direction of cam to the left more and clean off that smudge on the right while they are at it… Best!motsf (and no i don’t clean my windows ….. keeps the birds from flying into them…. and i’m sticking to my argument)

  7. Why didn’t the 7.1 earthquake at Hawaii cause widespread devastation and was the damage minimal?

    I am curious to know when Kilauea will go phreato-plinian and how big it will be. I gamble minimal a VEI 4.

    • The earthquake reached VIII in mercalli scale, which is expected to do some damage. I do believe that it did some damage in the area of the epicenter, but all eyes are in the eruption, so few images/reports came from that particularly earthquake.

      Also the area of the epicenter is not densely populated and most residential areas have been evacuated.

    • No, it’s not going to be a big explosion like 1790, it’s expected to be similar to 1924, as in a moderate VEI-2

      • I would say a bigger explosion is possible if the overlook crater fills in and does nothing until a new eruption, allowing the water table to deep into the rubble and causing that new eruption to be phreatomagmatic, for a while. That might get to a VEI 3 but that is about it.
        To get a VEI 4 you basically need to have a large eruption of at least 0.1 km3 of magma in a relatively short time and have enough water in the caldera to be able to handle that much magma. That won’t happen now. The 1952 eruption could have done it if the water table was high enough but it wasn’t.
        1790 happened when the entire caldera was about 500 meters deep and probably had an actual lake at the bottom, but probably after the 1790 explosion there was not enough water left and the eruption kept going and filled the caldera with a new lake, only made of lava.
        For a short time it was reported that basically the entire caldera was a lava lake, probably about 2 km wide at least, that would have been a sight to see.

    • The reason for little damage appears to be that the houses are mostly one story, frame construction in addition to being sparse on the ground. Frame construction rocks better without breaking or collapsing. You need unreinforced brick and concrete plus multi-story construction to get serious destruction (See Nepal, China, Haiti etc. for examples). I image the structure of the soil plays a role too. Spiky, relatively young, relatively large particles of ash and lava likely just lock together well, maybe nearly as well as bedrock. The worst destruction come when the soil is made from tiny particles like clay and fill dirt, the type of soils that easily liquify (see those expensive condos that sunk into the mud on ‘reclaimed’ land in SF during the Northridge quake). I have to wonder if magma also works as a shock absorber, since seismic waves travel slower in molten rock.

      However, I’m just speculating from a wee bit of knowledge as a rank amateur. A little knowledge can go a long way to getting people in trouble and way over their heads. I’m sure the real experts will point out my errors.

  8. that’s a Kilauea stack on the high left (on the lower rift cam) correct??

  9. @Carl & Albert. Please take a look at my 18:37 comment in the back channel.

    For all, it’s nothing. Just me trying to get a mental grip on Carl’s discussion on the main article. My back channel comment has got some math in it that may be dubious. Best to have it checked first before I toss it out here.

    • *sigh… no response yet, so I’ll throw it out anyway.

      Based on some pretty dubious calculations, and in keeping with Carls idea of how things progressed, I come up with about 33 Mpa of dynamic over-pressure in the dike system when the pulse of magma from the summit came down. The static head of the system was probably on the order of 27 Mpa just to support the magma column to the summit. When the magma breached the connection to the dike, the dynamic head combined with the existing pressure, probably ramped the system to over 50 or 60 Mpa. That is what caused the fissures.

      Whether the fresh magma can get clear of the aged magma is the big question. If it does, it will probably be a paving exercise for the rift area.

      Caveat: Not a geologist, nor even a plumber. The biggest problem is that I’m sort of working off of a Wikipedia formula, and using bits and pieces of constant data from a paper about a different volcano over in Costa Rica, and using rough flow rate estimates derived from the USGS plot.

      “Water Hammer” doesn’t really fit what I’m describing. “Magma Hammer” might fit, but it sounds a bit contrived.

      • I saw Magma Hammer open for Lita Ford and John Sykes once at the Nebraska State Fair! 🙂

        • It would indeed, but I might borrow the name for a track I’m currently writing.

  10. Hawaii News Now reports that the pentane issue at the Geothermal plant is not as critical as it was, following the Governors decree, much of it is now being moved.

    One oddity, is now they the News people are referring to it as 60,000 gallons rather than pounds. They also indicated that the remaining pentane should be off-premises today.

    They also reported that entry to the Leilani Estates subdivision requires a placard that can be obtained at Pahoa’s Sacred Heart Church.

    And still per the news, all 15 fissures are quiet at this time.

  11. Today’s daily report states EQ activity is further downrift of Leilani now…

  12. Stations on flanks of Mauna Loa continue showing gradual but continued slow/steady uptick in tremor:

    I wonder if the seemingly impending eruption of Kilauea will be accompanied by a major quake?

    • You don’t think a magnitude 7.1 quake can be considered a major quake?

      A repeat of 1868 is unlikely because it was triggered by a dyke from mauna loa pushing the south flank, which in turn is so heavy that it was able to push kilauea, in effect it was like having the 1975 quake only it was caused by another mountain and its own equally big or bigger quake. That sort of combination is probably pretty rare. The quake the other day was probably the major quake.

      • You are likely correct, however, what if the reverse sequence is also possible? (Dyke from Kilauea pushing southern flank of Mauna Loa)?

        I think the end will be either an eruption and/or a substantial earthquake — perhaps a caldera collapse (however limited) in Kilauea could act as a “piston” to trigger the next quake. We shall see!

        • Lower puna is basically free standing, there is little to no connection to anything at mauna loa. The reason the 1868 quake and eruption at mauna loa also caused a quake and eruption at kilauea is because mauna loa has to move kilauea to slide south, and mauna loa is much bigger. For kilaueas rift to move north it would have to push the entire island north which is borderline impossible. I think the next big event in this series will be an eruption, whether it is near kapoho crater or in the overlook crater or at both I think something pretty big is in the works.

      • Not intending to rain on anyones parade, but there have been a few shallow offshore quakes. An undersea breakout might be in the offering, though that seems a bit against the grain. (plus there are likely a few older dikes to jump across first.)

  13. The new magma is probably what is going downrift a bit, which is probably why it hasn’t erupted at the existing fissures. I doubt it will stop where it is though, the steaming near the highway was probably going to be an eruption but the intrusion went a bit further downrift and took the pressure off the highway area for a bit just before it happened. The loud booming noises heard at black sands were probably caused by magma moving up and breaking the rocks. I would expect that a similar event would precede an eruption at the end of the dyke now, only maybe with a shorter warning time due to the magma probably not being much further than 1 km underground there. When it erupts I think all hell will break loose, in all meanings of that phrase… Being in kapoho or vacationland (who thought that was a good name???) would be a bad idea right now…

    • Someone trying to sell real estate, that’s who. I bet swampland in Florida had equally appealing names a century ago.

      • You are probably correct on that one, maybe geolurking knows more about that with him being a local 😉

      • Yeppers. And, it’s a bit embarrassing.

        BTW, I am a local, but not native to Florida. I don’t fall into the category of “Damned Yankee” since I don’t come from that far away. (Damned Yankees are the ones who don’t go home after their visit) My point of origin is in Mississippi. My dad was the Damned Yankee. On my mothers side, my family has been in Mississippi since at least 1790. I have a copy of court documents to prove it. One of my ancestors was awarded “10 gallons of good whiskey” and 4 horses in a court ruling in Natchez.

  14. I have done some research on the previous activity in this area and have found some interesting information.

    For anyone looking at this situation and thinking it could end like the 1924 intrusion, there is one big difference which leads me to think this will end with a bigger eruption.
    The 1924 intrusion went straight into the puna ridge without hesitation, which is known because of faulting right up to the shoreline (which was buried in 1960) and presumably beyond although no-one went diving to find out.
    This current intrusion hasn’t even gotten to the shoreline and seems to have stopped where it is now, between fissure 15 and kapoho crater, which is consistent with both the 1955 and 1960 eruptions, and the shallow earthquakes prior to both eruptions started some time before the actual eruptions, shallow quakes were occurring in the lower rift several weeks before the 1960 eruption, only a week after the 1959 eruption ended, and this quieted down as though the eruption was failing, before suddenly spiking in the day before the breakout.
    The eruptions at leilani were from 1955 or 1960 magma that was in a still molten pocket adjacent to the new dike, which might not have even been connected to that pocket directly. In that case it would take a pressurized dike to push that old magma out, which would lend support to an imminent eruption in the kapoho area.
    There is a lot of magma still coming down at about the same rate as before so for this not to end in an eruption would be a pretty big anomaly in what we know, for all intents it would actually be a truly failed eruption. Truly failed eruptions are not common compared to deeper intrusions and actual eruptions, and this activity is involving a lot of magma, so statistically this should end with something on the surface.

    Basically, this current scenario has much more in common with the lead up to an eruption than it does with the 1924 event. I’m going to go out and guess that in 2 weeks or less an eruption will start above the end of the dike. What happens after that is hard to predict but I wouldnt get my hopes up for the survival of vacationland or kapoho (why would you rebuild there after the town was destroyed in living memory?).

    • Pretty much where I predicted there would be a new eruption, its a bit further north but in the same general area.
      Its happening faster than I thought it would though, there could be a new eruption in only a few days at this rate. I think this might take pressure off anything further up though so leilani is probably safe for a while.

      I think this spot is very close to the first row of 1955 vents, if a bigger eruption happens here then the steepest line of descent goes east then south between pu’u laimana (1960 cinder cone) and the eastern side of kapoho crater and through vacationland and kapoho into the ocean.
      Somehow I dont think that kapoho will be rebuilt after that one, probably not a great selling point to say that your town has been destroyed by lava twice in 60 years…

      • Well, towns like San Sebastiano (Vesuvio) and Nicolosi (Etna) have been destroyed and rebuilt several times in their history, so why not Kapoho?

        • Maybe the fact Nicolosi and San Sebastiano were rebuilt multiple times with the same result is actually a reason to not rebuild on the lower rift zone of kilauea, or on mauna loa for that matter (basically the current situation on kilauea but where it would probably happen with even less warning, you cant outrun the lava, and it will cut off the only escape route before you can get there anyway)…

        • Towns around Etna and Vesuvius didn’t have modern building and development codes or requirements for permits and insurance. Back then, it was their land and they didn’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. All the risk was theirs too, no insurance and no expectation of government assistance. I’m sort of surprised that the area was event approved for development, but few decades were enough for the local authorities to stop worrying about potential disaster costs and worry more about uncollected revenue from undeveloped property. I expect that it will take a few decades for a similar process to repeat itself. Of course, everything will have new names or revert to pre-Cook names to avoid references to the current sad history. From the view of collective history, it does look like a mistake, but from an individual perspective, 63 years between lava inundations is enough time to have a pretty good life or retirement. All investment is a risk eventually, it’s just of matter of what kind of return you get before things go sideways, ironically literally in this case.

    • As we wrote in yesterday’s update, if highway 132 is cut, it leaves a section of the coast without a good exit strategy. They may have left the evacuations of lower Puna quite late.

      • Ikaika did a few updates of that area a few hours ago, and the cracks were widening visibly over the hour or so he was there, if they continued widening I would say the road is probably not going to be useable by nightfall unless the cracks are covered.

        On the other hand if they are widening by several cm per hour, then the cracks would be about 15 cm wider by now than in the video, and if they are caused by rising magma (the most likely option) then that would accelerate as the magma gets shallower.
        I think the time period to an eruption is going to be measured in days at most now. It could even start tomorrow or overnight, the 1960 eruption happened after similar ground deformation and it started only about a day after cracks started forming. Some of the cracks moved by a lot more than 15 cm but the deformation continued after the eruption started so it is not a reliable indicator of how far it has to go before things happen. HVO should put a webcam on the cape kumukahi lighthouse or on kapoho crater so if anything starts it will be visible, this one will probably be a lot bigger than the leilani fissures.

        People should really think about leaving right now and quickly…

      • “it leaves a section of the coast without a good exit strategy.”

        Well, there’s always the USCG. “semper paratus”

        Yeah, the USCG catches a lot of grief from the USN, but in my opinion, those guys are bad assed from the word “go.”

        Plus, they could always bring an additional ship down from Pearl. Back before I was assigned to the Seattle, they had a tasking where the ship was stuffed with dependents vehicles for some sort of move. Actually a good choice. The main deck was covered with tie-down fittings and was well suited for lashing down cargo.

        • The civil defence boss Mango commented on that. They’re preparing dirt roads and ships.
          The internet commenters give him a hard time for being low energy but he’s just cool as fuck.

      • The road is already closed due to the cracks.
        They are preparing a dirt road as a backup so even though they wont be evaqueting at highway speeds. The people shouldnt be trapped.

        • I found a pdf about the 1960 eruption and it says that cracks in the ground appeared on the 10th of january and got to about a meter wide by the end of the day, which is similar to what has happened now (if the road is completely closed now then the cracks must be significant or they would have just put petal plates over the cracks). Earthquake activity increased significantly on the 12th and in the evening of the 13th the eruption started. By analogy with the current situation there will probably be an eruption in about 2 days, as well as more earthquakes. Things could go differently this time though and an eruption might start sooner or later than that, or be more episodic.

    • This is pretty much how the 1960 eruption started, earthquakes for a few weeks slowly going downrift and then an eruption at kapoho. This sequence is similar except it so far hasn’t lasted as long and has involved small eruptions a bit further up, which likely were not connected to the new dike directly or some new magma probably would have erupted and the fissures that have formed so far probably would have been much bigger.

      At least this vent isn’t going to erupt under someones house (probably).

      • I think it’s already come close to that. Hawaii News Now ran a story about a lady packing out her stuff and fissures appeared right next to the house while they were working.

        • I’m assuming this was in leilani a few days ago and not where these new cracks in highway 132 are.

  15. The daily update from the civil defense and USGS.
    Details on the origin of magma and investigations.

  16. Carl, I’m really curious on your prediction. As I recall, you did well on your prediction of Bard. We do know one thing. A volcano will do what it wants, as long as it wants & when it decides to do it. 🙂

  17. i think Carl figured it on deflation rate over time…. and the water table… i’ll get the popcorn…
    🙂 motsfo

      • There is nothing beyond butter… there is no ‘EXTRA” butter. What ever butter there is..well.. there it is …. butter…. 😉

    • Ahum. We don’t exactly know where the water table is, and there may be as much as a day uncertainty about when it is reached. And, as we wrote yesterday, you won’t get instant fireworks when that happens. The crater wall need to cool down. Rockfalls need to cover the crater floor, and only after that can trapped water below the rocks give rise to big bangs. Before that, you only get popcorn. So it is a bit hard to predict when things will get on the boil. HVO does warnings but steers away from predictions.

    • USGS is not even certain of exactly where the water table is. They have an idea, but it’s not set in stone. (bad pun intended)

      • Would the weather affect the height of the water table? E,g. if there had been a prolonged period of heavy rain? (although I suspect the weather in Hawai’i is a bit more consistent than I’m used to in the UK)

    • It’s his predicted time of 10:14 that gets me… I’d err on the side of caution and go for 10:15, a nice round quarter of an hour.

      • That’s Carl, I am talking about; just in case people didn’t figure I was replying to CDaley55’s comment about our Lord and Master’s predictions…

        • I was hoping when I had put the last sentence in my post “A volcano will do what it wants, as long as it wants & when it decides to do it. 🙂” with a smiley face, would show that no one really knows for sure. Only the experts could do their best on what will happen. As far as I know there hasn’t been anyone able to predict the exact time, down to the minute of an eruption. We love to watch all things volcano on here, but do not wish any harm or worries to anyone. 🙂

      • The time is a bit of a joke on my part.
        It is the exact time that the magma would go below the watertable depth if the rate of ascension and the depth of the USGS given depth of the watertable is correct.
        As is well known I am against using statistics, so I should probably have pointed out that the statistical probability for that happening between 10 and 11 is 0.79 percent…
        My point was that it was impossible prior to Friday, and most likely to happen tomorrow, but may happen later also. It was a humorous version of writing “aroundish”.

        • You have a similar sense of humour to mine. It’s why I recommended adding another minute. Just in case… 🙂

  18. Well, I’ll make a prediction. Hawaii EMS will have to cover more calls in the East County. So far I’ve heard “person fell into a tree,” an “attempted Tylenol overdose”, and someone having a medical emergency in a tent, and countless motor vehicle accidents. Essentially run of the mill stuff mixed in with displaced people.

    The fact that some set up tents near to a bar and a pizza place just endears me to the local populace. You make do with what you have available. My own experience was surviving off of a sack of potatoes and a grill when Ivan came through here in 2004.

        • Nellie, you must no direct experience of Boy Scout camping cuisine. Lucky you.

          • Neither am I, I was a Scout parent. Having elementary and middle school boys cook for you is an experience. My youngest son, though, is actually quite talented at cooking. He is a super-taster and has been consulting on what seasonings to add to the gravy since he was 8. He’s now nearly 20 and working as a line cook to put himself through college.
            An amazing child, I don’t deserve him.

  19. That must be the case the world over. I know that people who move from elsewhere in the UK to settle in Cornwall are known as “Grockles”. I was told (by a Cornishman) that it was also the local word used symbolically for piles or hemorrhoids of the type that “…come down but never go back up again”. I have no way of knowing whether he was pulling my leg or telling the truth, but it’s a nice story.

    • Oops. That was meant to be a reply to GeoLurking’s comment about Floridian real estate.

    • For those that settle to live in Cornwall/Devon i think the term is normally emmet? As used in this amusing hoax/parody site

      Gockle is more for a tourist/holiday maker with caravans being called grockle boxes.

      And yes, the terms are not used in an affectionate manner so i could well believe the haemorrhoids origin!

      Think the terms do get interchanged between Cornwall and Devon, i’m still learning this as an “emmet” that settled in Devon almost 30 years ago.

  20. I appreciate the well thought out and meaningful effort put forth in your article, but there are some serious basic misunderstandings, assumptions and analogies made throughout the article. I say this as a Volcanolgists whose lived, studied and spent lots of hours observing and published multiple times on volcanoes. If you’d like specifics and I can find time to nitpick details on depth, I’ll happily do so over messenger or email in a private manner.

    While well intentioned, I think you are not getting some of the dynamics of Kilauea. Your assertions can be construed as alarmist, which may well have been part of your intention. My greater point in this reply is it does no service to the people actually on island and dealng with very real threats on multiple levels right now.

    Our spam deamon tends to hold comments from new commenters for approval. Hereby released with apologies for the delay – admin

    • Do not assume the intentions of the article!!! I’ll have you know this site is anything but alarmist!!! Besides, this has no effect on the locals!

    • Jacob, we would appreciate receiving your comments. They can be send to the contact email which is near the bottom of the right-hand column (scroll up..). Our intention is not alarmist, and neither do we claim any authority!

    • I would be rather surprised if I had misunderstood Kilauea as completely as you put forth here.
      The dynamics of a volcano is after all soundly based in physics. Furthermore, I based everything on either USGS public data, or published data in scientific journals. What may have been wrong is reports on current events, but I did my best to verify those too.

      I do take great umbrage against your comment that what I wrote was intended to be alarmist. I have never intended to be alarmist, something that is well known.
      What I did is what I always do, use my knowledge about volcanoes and applying that to known and public data. What comes out is what is.
      And here is a very cold answer.
      I do not specifically write for the people on Hawaii in this article. I write for the readers of Volcanocafé. In doing so I can write detachedly about what occurs at volcanoes. Privately I do feel sorry for the locals, but doing what you suggest and suger coat things is not the way to do public popular science writing, that is falsifying of science on a gross scale.

      To round it up, if it is alarmist to write that there will be a bit of ash, and an increased risk of further seismic activity (that was the gist of what I wrote up above in the article) then there is not much hope I can convince you otherwise.

      • I suppose it’s very difficult to appreciate humor when people are using your judgments to make decisions about the future. Planning operations totally sucks in that regard and is nerve wracking as hell, and these guys have been in that state for going on two weeks now. For the press, the more alarmist and uncertain the future, the better the click-bait to exploit for ad revenue. For the residents, a quarter are likely complaining that they were evacuated unnecessarily or that access to the area is too restrictive to retrieve their possessions. Another half quarter are likely worried about why they haven’t be evacuated and are getting no official assistance with expense of getting themselves and their possessions out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, the politicians are looking for political cover and someone to blame if they make the wrong choice either in failing to avoid disaster or taking what turns out to be unnecessary, expensive, disruptive precaution. The people who are satisfied with the response are likely enjoying beer and pizza and not getting interviewed by the hordes of press. I hope when Jacob G. Smith’s life returns to something like normal, he can be a more sanguine contributor to discussion. All the factors that need to be considered when making predictions and decisions would be fascinating to discuss.

        We volcano junkies live in a dualistic state of gleefully anticipating seeing truly amazing phenomenon occur for real rather than in theory, while at the same time dreading the impact real people, real lives. We want to know what’s happening and what’s possible and why, but go on with our normal lives.

        The folks in Hawaii don’t the blessing of distance and their ‘normal’ risks being incinerated and the remains locked away in volcanic strata from the rest of their lifetimes.

    • Alarmist?!!! What on earth are you babbling on about? This article is NOT, repeat NOT alarmist. I have never seen an article at Volcanocafe which is alarmist. What I have seen is well-argued, well-supported articles which reveal fascinating insights into the volcanoes and related subject matter that have been discussed. Where speculation is being engaged in, such the Unknownaburga theorised central volcano in Iceland it is flagged as such.

      The audience of this site is considerably different than that of the Hawaii county civil defence and HVO briefings which are taking place frequently. Quite a few of the briefings by HVO etc have been done very well. For example the explanation of the potential phreatic/phreatomagmatic eruptions at Halema’uma’u was very well explained by the HVO scientists. That said the sad reality is that there will be a fair number of people they deal with who are hard of thinking. For example one of the questions that I heard asked at a briefing was along the lines of whether the summit activity could cause tsunami activity!!!! Now of course if we are talking about a massive flank failure along the lines of the Cumbre Vieja one that has certain sections of the media hyperventilating every so often then you will get a tsunami! However clearly the questioner had not taken the time to consider where the summit activity is taking place in relation to the ocean. The geography was not strong with that one.

      The other sad thing is when completely wrong information is given by an HVO or Hawaii county person at a briefing. During the same briefing where there was the excellent simple explanation given above the statement was made, “Ash fall is not life-threatening.” That is a direct quote from a USGS HVO member of staff! Of course ash fall is life-threatening!!!! Silicosis, collapse of buildings due to ash on the roof: two things directly due to ash fall that kill. What she should have said at that briefing is that the amount of ash fall expected from Kilauea during the potential phreatic explosions is not expected to be life-threatening. To absolutely state that ash fall is not life threatening is just plain wrong. It is possible that it was a slip of the tongue, but given how critical these briefings are those giving the briefings must be very, very, very careful in their use of language.

      Using terms such as pluton, dyke, tephra, lahar, plinian eruption column, VEI, caldera and harmonic tremor without an explanation can be done in articles at this site. If I were to put a sentence such as, “The succession of basaltic fissure eruptions at the Leilani Estates subdivision has resulted in limited damage to property and no loss of life primarily due to the fact that the lava erupted is comparatively evolved for Kilauea and therefore of higher viscosity and lower gas content than more juvenile material.” into a briefing for the general public I would be met by a succession of blank stares in most cases. A sentence like that can be routinely used at this site with no understanding problems for the majority of the readers. I think I’ve got my facts and usages straight in that sentence, but I may be using evolved in slightly the wrong sense.

      The worldwide audience of this also puts an entirely different immediacy on things. For me Kilauea is a fascinating, and very remote incident. It’s the same level of threat to me as an eruption at Etna or Merapi or Galeras or Ol Doinyo Lengai is, ie no threat at all. I can look at this from a dispassionate viewpoint as can almost all readers of and indeed contributors to this site. So please do not make accusations of alarmism, where the only people who could draw alarmist conclusions from the article are those so far up the conspiracy theory route as to be beyond help.

      • Hear hear!

        Held in the for-approval queue as is normal for first-time comments. Future comments should appear without delay – admin

  21. Hawaii can really erupt and do long lived eruptions.
    Being the worlds hottest and largest deep sea hotspot. Mauna Loa and Kilaueas enormous masses 55 000 and 75 000 km3 was emplaced in just few 100 s of thousands of years. Thats ALOT of magma in a little blip of geological time.
    Its not supprising some Hawaii eruptions have lasted for 100 s and some 1000 s of years.
    Having a high magma supply Kilauea and Mauna Loa will soon do something again.
    Since year 1820 Kilauea and Mauna Loa have likley done around 10 to 14 km3 of lava IF I trys to calculate the volumes

    • I don’t think any eruption in Hawaii has lasted for hundreds of years, the longest eruption know that was all in one go is the ~1410 – ~1470 alilau (probably spelled that wrong) eruption from a just northeast of the existing caldera. Kilauea iki formed over the top of the shield created by that eruption, and lava flows from it cover most of the land north of the rift zone, it lasted 60-70 years. The second longest is the current eruption after 1986, which has been intensely observed. The so called 100 year lava lake ending in 1924 was actually a series of eruptions and between 1868 and 1900 it was more often than not an empty crater, before this time observations were infrequent so it is hard to tell if it really was continuous or not. In light of this it would be somewhat incorrect to call it a continuous eruption when there were periods of over a year with nothing. There is also no real reason why the current eruption will end with this lower rift activity, pu’u o’o is still open even if inactive, and the overlook crater is still intact and likely has some lava at the very bottom, or at least some spattering is possible that when things settle down again lava will just erupt at pu’u o’o again like in 2011.

      It is events like this that give kilauea its prestigious title of worlds most active volcano, it’s the fact it can actually erupt so frequently on a quite large scale, since the impressive 1959 eruption it has erupted at least once every year with the exception of 1976, 1978 and 1981, and since 1986 it has been continuous with the exception of about 3.5 months in total over that time, and 5 smaller eruptions have occurred simultaneously alongside that, with one of them being a persistent eruption all on its own…
      Quite a few other volcanoes can easily manage the duration but I can’t think of any other volcano on earth that can match the eruption rate per day, and that includes the monsters of Iceland and the central Kamchatka depression…

      I think people underestimate Hawaii because it is so familiar. Thousands see it every day, millions see it every year, and the entire population of young people* on Earth, myself included, were born after pu’u o’o started so there has quite literally been lava flowing there the entire time I have been alive minus about 1 month each in 2007 and 2011. It is this regularity that causes it to lose the novelty factor so most people don’t think much of it unless it does something different, like it is now.

      * young people is anyone under 30, no offence to anyone here that is older than that 😉

      • I think we can do without the ageism.
        And it is good to remember that Jesper knows more about Hawaiian volcanism than almost anyone who is not a professional volcanologist.
        His knowledge about the area is encyclopedic in nature.

        • Is Jesper from Hawaii? I guess with the situation there and also the current articles here it would be strange for there to be no one from Hawaii wanting to comment.

          I have actually talked with a professional volcanologist who has worked in Hawaii several times, including being involved in one of the more recent publications/’books’. I am not from Hawaii but I do know quite a lot after my 7 years of imterest in the topic.

      • Geologically speaking, we are all infants and mayflies.

  22. ^another seismo on Mauna Loa’s eastern flank where tremor is now subsuming any background noise…

    This one had been particularly wavy, but the signal the past few hours is definitely on the rise.

    It should also be noted that green and blue are set to converge again here… maybe an indicator of the impending eruption? IDK, but seems oddly potentially coincidental to dating thrown out in ^ post.

    • The acceleration of the green line while the blue line remains linear means that the location of the deflation is migrating a bit. If you look where this tilt station is, and plot the directions it gives you an idea where the deflation is centred. For instance, the one below has one axis pointing at the source of deflation and the other is perpendicular to it

    • I’m curious about the sulfur dioxide in the emissions having an effect on the global atmosphere. Obviously, the height of the emissions being injected is no where near the tropospheric boundary, but neither were most CFCs. I know that CFCs are long lasting in the atmosphere which give them the time to be swept higher and concentrated in the polar regions, at least according to current theory and interpretation. Would sulfur-based compounds also last long enough and have they been emitted in high enough quantities to be concentrated at a high enough altitude to have an effect?

      • SO2 has a very short life span in the troposphere and has little opportunity to diffuse to the sratosphere. Carbonyl Sulfide (COS) has the longevity to do it, but is not a major eruption byproduct. It tends to be dissociated by UV light.

  23. This is a time plot of the quakes in the area of the 132 cracks. They seemed to have ebbed at midnight.

    • This happened in 1960 too, the area was quiet for a few days before magma suddenly rose up and erupted. Cracks appeared starting 3 days before the eruption.

  24. Re: Popcorn…. “Popcorn” is shorthand for ….. “i don’t know anything…. i’m just going to watch what happens” and i don’t expect anything more than what the experts say will happen. (and i’m easily entertained. and i know what it is like to live with ash and have all the sympathy in the world for the stresses the locals are going thu…. can’t imagine what it must be like to have to rely on a cistern for water tho..but i do agree that this site is generally non alarmist. Hoping for the Best!motsfo

    • Note: “Popcorn,” as refereed to by motsfo, is an edible food-stuff.

      “Poppers” as used by me, is an informal term for a peculiar waveform seen on drum plots for a volcano that could be indicative of magma movement through strata. Not dissimilar to Tornillos, but of a shorter duration.

      “Butter” well, it’s just butter.

      Alarmist? Not here. Pragmatic yes, but alarmist no. This site is dedicated to volcanology for the general public. We look at possibilities and discuss potential scenarios. In general, how it all works. We have never claimed to be an authority on the topic and have ALWAYS differed to the appropriate Geophysical and Emergency organization with regards to advice on any particular volcano. After all, it’s their job to do that. We laud those that are top notch in their game, and in some cases, denigrate those with a self serving disposition that gloss over an emergency in order to just make it go away. (It’s for that reason that I personally refuse to analyze any Canary Island data) When they get someone killed, it’s all on them.

  25. Here is a good videos about hazards from tube feed pahoehoe flows. But thats mainly a Hazard from slow eruption rate lava shield eruptions like Puu Oo and waning stages of Mauna Ulu.
    But when Kilauea does large fast rift eruptions it goes very fast Indeed. Huge fountains and channelized rivers that can flow 70 km an hour feeding large open slow moving Aa flows.
    Kapoho and Puna 1955 are good examples

  26. I am re-posting this.

    I was hoping when I had put the last sentence in my post “A volcano will do what it wants, as long as it wants & when it decides to do it. 🙂” with a smiley face, would show that no one really knows for sure. Only the experts could do their best on what will happen. As far as I know there hasn’t been anyone able to predict the exact time, down to the minute of an eruption. We love to watch all things volcano on here, but do not wish any harm or worries to anyone. 🙂

  27. Not alarmist, simply interesting and mostly informative while taking scientific facts into consideration in a way that I can understand. Thank you.

    [Hi Hen! I found your comment in the Netherworld of Akismet, you should be fine now with any new comments! –Lugh]

  28. On this video of the 16 fissure, as he’s walking to it, sirens999sirens catches on video a helicopter having a problem with a drone.

  29. Oh… thanks for digging me out.
    Of course we think about the locals in Hawaii, but I don’t think they are unaware of the fact that they are living on an unpredictable, live volcano.

  30. This new fissure seems different than the last ones. I don’t know if it is just me, but the lava looks more fluid here than the first fissures to open. Some of the earlier fissures were spraying lava up to 100 meters but with no lava flow, while this new one is quite low but there is a lot more lava?
    The hwy 132 cracks are not far away but are quite offset to the north, maybe this recent fissure is a bigger batch of older magma that has stayed more molten because of its size, and like the older fissures in leilani this one is from older magma being pushed up due to compression from the new dike, which ends under the road cracks. Will be interesting to see if the road cracks erupt while this one is still going so a comparison can be made.
    It is also entirely possible that the hwy 132 fissures are tectonic formations related to the kapoho graben, and not vents at all, although I think earthquake data might not be in favour of this idea.

    Also interesting is how for a while the leilani fissures were going uprift until the steaming cracks appeared over hwy 130, which seems to have been a failed fissure, and that after that happened things have gone downrift again and continue to do so. At least this fissure will just flow south and probably not do a whole lot in terms of damage to houses, although the property damage would be quite huge if it increases and reaches the ocean. Sort of inconvenient that it is outside the webcam though, HVO should add some more temporary cams, maybe move the one looking at pu’u o’o from the south, I don’t think I have ever seen anything in that one before so it might be more useful elsewhere.

    • In the video posted by cdaley55 19:54 above, the lava is spattering from the fissure with what looks like some ropy lava on the ground close to the fissure (19:54 is the time cdaley55 posted, not the time on the video). But probably need to wait to hear what USGS or HVO say about it.

  31. Most of the tilt indicators are starting to (how do you say this) slow down.

  32. I’m now seeing a report of a possible 17th fissure. East of Puna Geothermal plant & Northeast of the Lanipuna Gardens Subdivision in a forested area. Anyone have any info or confirmation on it?

    • Is this different from the known one in that same area? Fissure 16 is east of the geothermal plant and in a forested area. A new fissure there while the first one is still active would be a significant event and probably a sign that more magma is reaching the surface. If fissure 17 is actually in the ground crack system that crosses hwy 132 then it is above the new dike and if my theory on how all this works is correct then an eruption there could be way bigger than what has happened so far. Things are heating up, pun fully intended…

      • That was what I was wondering.

        I went back & waited for it again. It’s scrolling HVO 16 confirmed (17th unconfirmed by Khona2) then states location. I would say location is only for 16th. I was hoping someone heard something here.

        • I think 16 and 17 are the same fissure

          Spotted this advert on arbnb

          Lanipuna Gardens Getaway LAVA VIEWING nearby – Houses for Rent …

          Interesting is that the fissures are following a line of steepest descent. One reason why lava is not flowing away from the fissures is that downhill is along the fissures. The fissures tend not to happen where the land is flat, which is why it skipped a mile. I though perhaps the geothermal plant has cooled the ground below it, but the fact that it is on a small hill is probably more important in keeping the fissure away.

          Bardarbunga did the same: the dike followed the line of steepest descent of the land (and ice) above it.

          Given where fissure 16 is, the choice between north and south may have been made. At this location lava would end up on the south coast. Champaign pool may do justice to its name.

          • I dont think the exact same situation here applies as it did in Iceland, a lot of other eruptions at kilauea have not followed that pattern, the 1955 eruption being most obvious, but also this eruption to some extent. It started near where these recent fissures were, went downrift almost to kapoho, then stopped, went back to leilani, and went uprift to west of highway 130. Then it stopped for 3 weeks before erupting very vigorously for a few more weeks before stopping suddenly.

  33. The tilt seems to have slowed or even halted. Tilt is related to deflation but it measures a bit of a different thing, so it is hard to tell whether the deflation has also ended. The latest GPS data shows the caldera still dropping like a stone, in places having reached a level not seen since 2008. But that is only updated once a day.

    Looking at other tilt instruments, I have the impression that the rift zone south of Kilauea is going down. This is open to correction: it is only an impression.

    There was a near-surface M3.3 quake in that area at about the right time, followed by an M3.5 quake around the caldera itself an hour or so later. There were also a series of small quakes along the pali over the past day but these were probably just relaxation after the M7 quake, and too small and too distant to affect Kilauea.

    Perhaps (speculation alert) the quake damaged or blocked the outflow from the Kilauea magma chamber, leaving the rift underpressured. If that happens it could be the end of the preliminaries.

    But as a reminder, this whole episode began when the outflow from Pu’uO’o became blocked, and could no longer keep up with the inflow. Cue to Pu’u’O’o beginning its rise, later Kilauea rising up, increasing pressure forcing the eastern rift to open, and collapse of much-loved lava features. A blockage can be a serious thing!

    Or it could be nothing: this is a bit of a jump in conclusion from a single instrument.

  34. HVO have confirmed fissure 17 as being ‘about a half mile northeast from the end of Hinalo Road, very close to fissure 16 that opened about 6:45 am. Activity at fissure 16 produced a lava flow that traveled about 250 yards before stalling about 2:30 pm.’

  35. There is a massive crack in pohoiki road now, and HVO has reported on fissure 17, with it being slightly to the east of fissure 16. It will be interesting to see if this continues to the east or whether a fissure will open in the area where the cracks in hwy 132 were, or if both areas will erupt.
    I think things are still heading in the direction of a bigger eruption in this area, pu’u o’o is still very slowly deflating which means the magma from the summit isn’t stopping under that area, so everything that was in the upper parts of the volcano has gone into the lower east rift, and still is.
    Even if nothing big happens now, there is a high chance that in a few years when the magma supply has refilled it will break into the lower rift again and set of a bigger eruption there, like how 1960 followed 1955, and in fact the 1960 vents happened just to the north of the lowest 1955 vents and probably along the same dike which was still a weak point. This current dike might have also formed along this same line of weakness, likely the dike that formed all the way back in 1924, the only time there was intense seismicity along the entire rift and not just at the end location. Most of this dike was formed relatively quietly, there wasn’t continuous ground shaking or massive ground cracking, and the quakes showing its movement would be too small to notice by most people. There were a number of big quakes but those were probably going to happen anyway in time.

  36. Actually, I dont think pu’u o’o is coming back from this, its entire magma system seems to have been destroyed during this last collapse…
    That is a genuine pit crater right there, probably bigger than some of the ones on chain of craters, and way bigger than the 2011 collapse, or the 2007 collapse, and even the 1997 collapse. If eruptions happen there in the future it will be pretty different to the activity before April 30th, and things might well just stop.

    Rip pu’u o’o, 1983-2018

  37. Yes I think Puu Oo is done too
    The collapse is too bad and deflation too strong.
    Just as turtle says, its small upper magma system seems ruined and the feeder dyke pipe likley collapsed along many places.
    I think the 35 year long Puu Oo eruption is done

    • With that deep cavity too, the crater will very likely get a lot wider than it is now as well, probably with ash emissions for a while, I think new eruptions will happen in the general area fairly frequently in the near future but only as fissures that erupt for short times before stopping, more ‘typical’ activity.

      The overlook crater is probably going to erupt again though, at the moment there isn’t really any evidence of it collapsing like was feared and the summit deflation seems to be slowly stopping, so I think it will eventually reform the lava lake again and possibly overflow more often now that it is the easiest place for magma to erupt, similar to the situation in the 19th century. Pu’u o’o has probably stopped, but the omnipresent lava most likely hasn’t yet.

  38. Puu Oo s drainage pit formed by magma drainage. HVO says its 350 meters deep. These are one of the deepest ever in Puu Oo even if 1990 s and 1980 s pits was deep

  39. The new lava looked little more fluid than last weeks lava.. coud be beacuse its more fresh.
    Its still far from the typical runny Hawaiian lava.
    The lava flows so far have been mostly Aa flows and some rubbly pahoehoe.

    • I have been wondering if maybe lava erupted on the lower rift just isn’t usually as fluid as lava at the summit. It is very likely that every eruption there is at least partly derived from old magma sitting in the area from the previous eruptions. Maybe we are expecting fluid lava because pu’u o’o had long gone past that point and was basically a direct hole in the earths crust. The 1955 eruption was basically all relatively viscous older magma except possibly for the last part when it got really intense for about a week before stopping, and the 1960 eruption was mostly 1955 magma except for the last part when 1959 type new magma was erupted as the dike fully formed.
      This little new vent is maybe somewhere in between, though still mostly old magma. I’m interested to see if the hwy 132 cracks are getting wider or if steam is starting there, that area is probably where the end of the dike is and could be a much bigger event. I think this eruptive series will go on for at least another month and there is a good chance that somewhere in that time there will be a significantly bigger flow somewhere.

      Fissure 18 has also opened… Ikaika is livestreaming it as of 2 minutes ago right when I post this comment.

      • While it was an off-white swan, 1823 was very liquid. And even the early part of 1960 was more fluid than the early part of 1955.

  40. Here is the most recent fissure map

    And here is the elevation map (need to look hard to see the elevation lines though)

    Comparing the two shows that the fissures are following a line of steepest descent: they are perpendicular to the elevation lines.

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