Volcano Watch — Lava breakouts reach the sea

Release Date:

The eruption along Kīlauea's East Rift Zone continues after a 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 Puu Oo cone.

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

(Public domain.)

The eruption along Kīlauea's East Rift Zone continues after a 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 Puu Oo cone. By the morning of May 30, the three tube-fed ocean entries at Laeapuki, Kamoamoa, and Kamokuna died as lava drained completely from the tube system.

During the pause, the level of the lava pond in Puu Oo 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 Puu Oo. 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 aa 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 Laeapuki, 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. The westernmost entry is just over a mile from the end of Chain of Craters road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 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. Lava viewing within the National Park has been fantastic, and Park Rangers have been leading safe excursions to the western front for hearty people desiring a close encounter with the "hot stuff".

Volcano Activity Update

Two earthquakes were felt during the past week. Residents of Waikii, Ahualoa, and Waimea were shaken by a magnitude 3.0 temblor on Sunday, June 9 at 11:37 PM. The earthquake was located 2 miles west of the summit of Mauna Kea at a depth of 16 miles. A magnitude 4.4 earthquake occurred 11 minutes after midnight on Friday morning, June 14, and it was felt throughout the island of Hawaii except the Kohala district. The epicenter of the earthquake was 32 miles southeast of Pahala and at a depth of 27 miles beneath Lō‘ihi Volcano. There were no reports of damage from either quake.