USGS Status Update of Kīlauea Volcano - May 14, 2018

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USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory status of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii on May 14, 2018 by scientist in charge Tina Neal.


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:10

Location Taken: Kīlauea Volcano, HI, US


Behind me what you see is activity going on at Kilauea summit right now.  Since the lava lake receded deep into the volcano we’ve had a continual emission of vigorous steam from the conduit that has been evacuated of lava deeply into the volcano.  In addition, we’ve had rock falls down into that steep conduit which sometimes cause the updraft of ashy materials that mixes with the steam and forms a discolored brownish sometimes pinkish plume. This morning’s plume is a little bit larger than those we’ve been seeing and may indicate the addition of some fresh lava streaming through the rubble pile at the bottom, that’s just a preliminary interpretation, but something we’re considering.  So far, we have not seen any evidence of these over pressured steam driven explosions which is what we’re worried about in the long run here at the summit of Kilauea.  So just to emphasize we’ve seen no evidence of that activity yet, but this is something we’re watching for.

Transitioning down to the lower east rift zone, I’d like to mention overnight that we had continued lava effusion from what we’re calling fissure 17 which is at the Northeast end of the fissure system that has been active over now for many days.  That fissure is producing lava fountains that are throwing spatter up more than 100 feet in the air.  In addition, the lava flow is moving away from the fissure generally in an easterly direction paralleling highway 132, but south of highway 132.  The lava flow has moved just about a mile from the fissure overnight.  It started to turn a little bit southernly moving slowly but we are watching it carefully and USGS crews are in the field working closely with Hawaii County Civil Defense to make sure they are updated as quickly as possible about the position of lava and the areas it may threaten.  There are a couple of other fissures in the system that are weakly active at this time to the southwest of fissure 17 and we’re also keeping track of those. 

That’s the update from Kilauea today.