USGS HVO Press Release - Halema‘uma‘u Vent Explodes a Second Time

Release Date:

A second explosion from the new vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater occurred at 11:08 p.m., HST, on April 9, 2008. The explosion was smaller in magnitude than the one on March 19, 2008, but enlarged the vent by 5–10 meters (15–30 feet).

USGS scientists, who have been monitoring Halema‘uma‘u around the clock, observed incandescent rocks being ejected from the vent during the explosion. Some blocks were blasted to the rim of the crater, about 70 m (230 feet) above the vent. They also noted that a faint glow returned to the vent a few minutes after the explosion. Other than explosion signals, no other geophysical changes accompanied the event.

Shortly after dawn, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists investigated the explosion debris on the crater rim above the vent. They found lava spatter and rocks, with one block measuring 35 by 21 by 20 cm (14 X 8 X 8 inches). The debris was apparently hot when ejected because fragments had melted plastic pans previously placed on the rim to collect ash.

Based on field observations, last night's explosion ejected considerably less rocky material than the March 19 event. Hawai‘i County Civil Defense received reports of ash fall in Pāhala, suggesting that tiny fragments of rock pulverized by the explosion were carried down wind at least 19 miles.

The Halema‘uma‘u vent continues to issue a white plume this morning. Returning trade winds are now blowing the plume to the southwest, which will allow scientists to measure sulfur dioxide gas emissions and ash production today.

Jim Kauahikaua, Scientist-in-Charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, stated that USGS staff will continue to monitor Kīlauea's activity 24 hours a day. Photos, text updates, a Halema‘uma‘u Crater webcam, and details about the Kīlauea's 1924 explosive eruption are available on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo

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