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Kilauea Volcano!


Reprinted from here.

Activity update

Kilauea Volcano continues to be active. A vent in Halema`uma`u Crater is erupting elevated amounts of sulfur dioxide gas and very small amounts of ash. Resulting high concentrations of sulfur dioxide in downwind air have closed the south part of Kilauea caldera and produced occasional air quality alerts in more distant areas, such as Pahala and communities adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, during kona wind periods.

Pu`u `O`o continues to produce sulfur dioxide at even higher rates than the vent in Halema’uma’u Crater. Trade winds tend to pool these emissions along the West Hawai`i coast. Kona winds blow these emissions into communities to the north, such as Mountain View, Volcano and Hilo. The new gas vent observed on May 23 inside Pu`u `O`o remains active, and aerial images captured by thermal camera suggest that the vent may have enlarged slightly since last week. Thermal images peering through fume also show what looks like a small pad of new lava at the bottom of a deep pit on the floor of Pu`u `O`o crater.

The amount of lava erupting from fissure D of the July 21, 2007 eruption has increased fairly significantly over the past week. This excess lava is feeding several breakouts along the 2007 Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) tube system above the pali. Most of this lava is staying close to the breakout points resulting in an apparent resumption of rootless shield construction over the tube. This is similar to what was seen early in the year. Some active lava is reaching into the northeast corner of the Royal Gardens subdivision.

Lava also continues to flow through what remains of Royal Gardens and across the coastal plain to the ocean in a well-established lava tube active now for several months. The Waikupanaha ocean entry, where lava meets the water, was active throughout the last week, often showing off with small explosions and a vigorous plume. A small delta collapse, which likely occurred very early Wednesday morning, took a deep bite out of the front of the Waikupanaha delta.

Be aware that lava deltas could collapse at any time, potentially generating large explosions. This may be especially true during times of rapidly changing lava supply conditions, as have been seen lately. Do not venture onto the lava deltas. Even the intervening beaches are susceptible to large waves generated during delta collapse; avoid these beaches. In addition, steam plumes rising from ocean entries are highly acidic and laced with glass particles. Check Civil Defense Web site (http://www.lavainfo.us) or call 961-8093 for viewing hours.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. No earthquakes were located beneath the summit. Continuing extension between locations spanning the summit indicates slow inflation of the volcano.

Four earthquakes beneath Hawai`i Island were reported felt within the past week. A magnitude-3.6 earthquake occurred at 6:34 a.m., H.s.t., on Sunday, June 29, 2008, and was located 34 km (21 miles) southt of `Ulupalakua, Maui at a depth of 22 km (14 miles). A magnitude-2.9 earthquake occurred at 5:48 p.m. on that same day and was located 11 km (7 miles) northwest of Kailua at a depth of 11 km (7 miles). A magnitude-2.6 earthquake occurred at 8:41 a.m. on Monday, June 30, and was located 12 km (7 miles) northwest of Pahala at a depth of 9 km (5 miles). A magnitude-2.5 earthquake occurred at 1:54 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, and was located 2 km (1 mile) northeast of Pu`ulena Crater, Puna, at a depth of 2 km (1 mile).

Visit our Web site (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for daily Kilauea eruption updates, a summary of volcanic events over the past year, and nearly real-time Hawai`i earthquake information. Kilauea daily update summaries are also available by phone at (808) 967-8862. Questions can be emailed to askHVO@usgs.gov.

For more information on touring Hawaii in general, or visiting the Big Island in particular, go to www.tourguidehawaii.com and here.

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