Volcano Watch — Kīlauea eruption status: the lava keeps on flowing

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The 13-year-old eruption along Kīlauea's East Rift Zone has continued unabated since the pause from May 30 to June 4. Over a period of 18 hours on May 29-30, lava gradually stopped issuing into the tube system from the vent on the flank of the Pu`u `O`o cone.

 

Kīlauea eruption status: the lava keeps on flowing...

Map of lava-flow field from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and most recent surface flows.

(Public domain.)

The 13-year-old eruption along Kīlauea's East Rift Zone has continued unabated since the pause from May 30 to June 4. Over a period of 18 hours on May 29-30, lava gradually stopped issuing into the tube system from the vent on the flank of the Pu`u `O`o cone. By the morning of May 30, the three tube-fed ocean entries at Lae`apuki, Kamoamoa, and Kamokuna died as lava drained completely from the tube system.

During the pause, the level of the lava pond in Pu`u `O`o fluctuated by as much as 100 feet, rising to a maximum level of 190 feet below the crater rim on June 3. Lava also appeared on the floor of the Great Pit, a 270-ft wide hole in the outer wall of the cone above the active vent.

On the morning of June 4, lava began to fill a large collapse-pit over the tube at the 2500-ft elevation, near the base of Pu`u `O`o. Soon thereafter, a breakout at the 2250-ft elevation, 1.8 miles down the tube from the vent, fed a broad, slow-moving pahoehoe sheet flow. By late afternoon on the 4th, spectacular channelized `a`a flows were streaming down the face of Pulama Pali from breakouts at the 1950-ft and 1500-ft elevations, and large pahoehoe sheet flows were emanating from the tube near the base of the pali from the 550-ft and 300-ft elevations.

Lava did not reenter the old tube system below Paliuli, and surface flows continued to spread westward across the coastal plain. On the morning of June 6, the flow front reached the ocean near Lae`apuki, and once again began the process of adding new land to Hawaii. As of June 13, three additional ocean entries were established spanning a mile of coastline. Since then, the tube feeding the two entries near Lae`apuki has matured into the primary lava conduit and the entries near Kamoamoa have died.

A total of approximately 820 acres of the flow field have been resurfaced by new lava since the eruption restarted on June 4. Around 530 acres have been covered on the coastal plain.

More than 3 acres of new land collapsed into the sea at Lea`apuki on June 22. This coastal area remains extremely hazardous and additional large collapses are likely if current eruptive conditions persist.

Lava viewing within the National Park has been fantastic! For their own safety, visitors are required by law to stay within the safe boundaries established by the National Park Service rangers.