LavaTalk: Kilauea Volcano status for Sunday (Sept 18)

Sunday, September 18, 2016 U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Kilauea Volcano Status

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. Summit tiltmeters recorded the onset of inflationary tilt this morning, and the lava lake level is similar to yesterday morning. The 61g lava flow fed from Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the East Rift Zone is entering the ocean at Kamokuna and there have been breakouts about 2 km (1.2 mi) inland from the coast. The 61g flow poses no threat to nearby communities.

Summit Observations: Summit tiltmeters recorded the onset of inflationary tilt around 2 am this morning. The lake surface level fluctuated over the past day due to spattering, but had no significant net change over the past day. The lake surface is roughly 28 m (92 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu this morning. Webcam views of the lava lake can be found at the following webpage:

Summit seismicity was at typical levels, while volcanic tremor amplitudes continued to fluctuate in association with lava lake spattering. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates ranged from 3600 to 6200 metric tons/day over the past week. GPS and InSAR data show continued long-term inflation of the summit magma reservoir complex, ongoing since 2010.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: There were no noteworthy geological changes at Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past day, nor were there any significant changes or trends in seismicity or surface deformation. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 270 metric tons/day when last measured on September 7.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61g lava flow, extending southeast from PuÊ»u ʻŌʻō on KÄ«lauea’s south flank, continues to supply lava to the ocean near Kamokuna. HVO staff observed the ocean entry plume carried to the southwest this morning, with fume from the lava tube covering the flow field near the coast. Active breakouts were reported over the past week on the coastal plain about 2 km (~1.2 mi) inland from ocean entry.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Please see these fact sheets for additional information:

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