10/20/2014 — New Smoke / Ash Eruption at Pu’u O’o Volcano in Hawaii?

No reports coming out of Hawaii on this yet….  currently the webcams on Pu’u’ O’o’ Volcano ( on the flank of Kilauea ) shows a heavy cloud, and another cam on the adjacent flank shows hazy smoke of some kind.

“Update 1030pm CDT:

Could be related to THIS which just occurred in Hawaii at Kilauea! ..

“That being said, it looks like a minor blast of some kind occurred.  Which can occur when large volumes of water hit hot lava surfaces.

Will have to wait and see what the “official” word is — until then, here are screenshots from the webcam page:



puu oo eruption oct 20 2014


puu oo eruption oct 20 2014A


The new lava flow from Pu’u O’o is still advancing towards the nearby towns, evacuations still ongoing:

multimediaFile-864 multimediaFile-862 multimediaFile-861

Here is my video from exactly 1 month ago, September 19th 2014, covering the new lava flow in Hawaii heading towards Kaohe and Pahoa townships:

Recent Kilauea Status Reports, Updates, and Information Releases

Monday, October 20, 2014 8:57 AM HST (Monday, October 20, 2014 18:57 UTC)
This report on the status of Kilauea volcanic activity, in addition to maps, photos, and Webcam images (available at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php), was prepared by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). All times are Hawai`i Standard Time.

19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: Kīlauea continued to erupt at its summit and within the East Rift Zone, and gas emissions remained elevated. There was a small amount of net deflation at the summit, and the lava lake fell slightly before leveling off. At the middle East Rift Zone, the June 27th flow remains active but moved no closer to Pāhoa. Active breakouts are scattered across the flow near its front and about mid-way along its length.

June 27th Lava Flow Observations: A Civil Defense overflight this morning found no advancement at the front of the flow, though breakouts remain active immediately upslope. The stalled front is about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from Apaʻa St/Cemetery Rd, as measured along the steepest-descent line that the flow has been following.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: No significant change in eruptive activity or ground tilt was recorded at Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past 24 hours. Seismic tremor has been low and relatively constant. Glow was visible overnight above several outgassing openings in the crater floor. The most recent sulfur-dioxide emission-rate measurement for the East Rift Zone was 450 tonnes per day (from all sources) on October 9, 2014.

Summit Observations: The summit gradually deflated until late yesterday morning. After that, the summit tiltmeter recorded only tiny fluctuations indicating no significant inflation or deflation. The lava lake level fell slightly with the deflation, and then fluctuated between about 60 and 65 m (200–215 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater (the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu) thereafter, the superficial changes in level caused by variations in spattering on the lake surface.

A visit to Halemaʻumaʻu yesterday to measure lava level discovered fresh spatter (scoria) scattered sparsely around the closed visitor overlook. A review of webcam imagery and seismicity found that a small explosive event occurred yesterday morning (October 19) from the lake surface out of sight below the webcams just after 1 AM. This is a reminder that potentially life-threatening explosive events are still occasionally occurring and happen without warning.

There was no significant change in seismicity beneath Kīlauea over the past day. Seismic tremor beneath the summit remained low and varied with changes in spattering on the surface of the lava lake. GPS receivers spanning the summit caldera recorded about 5 cm (2 in) of extension between early May and early July. Since then, little significant extension or contraction has occurred. The most recent sulfur-dioxide emission rate measurements for the summit were 3,600–5,200 tonnes/day (see caveat below) for the week ending September 30, 2014. A small amount of particulate material was carried aloft by the plume, in addition to the sparse scoria deposited by yesterday morning’s explosive event.

Sulfur Dioxide Emission Rate estimation caveat: Starting in 2014, we report the emission rate estimated by a new, more accurate method. The numbers increase by a factor of 2-4 but the actual emission rate has not changed. For more on this reporting change, please read http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=207

Summit The summit lava lake is within an elliptical crater (unofficially called the Overlook crater), which has dimensions of approximately 160 m (520 ft) by 210 m (690 ft), inset within the eastern portion of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The lake level has varied from about 25 m to more than 200 m (out of sight) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The Overlook crater has been more-or-less continuously active since it opened during a small explosive event on March 19, 2008. The lake level responds to summit tilt changes with the lake generally receding during deflation and rising during inflation. Since 2013, the lava level has been typically between 30 m (100 ft) and 60 m (200 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Small collapses in the Overlook crater are common, and over time have resulted in a gradual enlargement of the Overlook crater. The ambient SO2 concentrations near the vent vary greatly, but are persistently higher than 10 ppm and frequently exceed 50 ppm (upper limit of detector) during moderate trade winds. The gas plume typically includes a small amount of ash-sized tephra (mostly fresh spatter bits and Pele’s hair from the circulating lava lake). The heaviest pieces are deposited onto nearby surfaces while the finer bits can be carried several kilometers before dropping out of the plume.

East Rift Zone vents and flow field The eruption in Kīlauea’s middle East Rift Zone started with a fissure eruption on January 3, 1983, and continued with few interruptions at Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone, or temporarily from vents within a few kilometers to the east or west. A fissure eruption on the upper east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone on Sept. 21, 2011, drained the lava lakes and fed a lava flow (Peace Day flow) that advanced southeast through the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision to the ocean within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park in early December 2011. The flows stalled and re-entered the ocean starting on November 24, 2012, until activity started to decline and the ocean entry ceased in August 20, 2013; the flow was dead by early November, 2013. The Kahaualeʻa flow, which started from the spatter cone/lava lake at the northeast edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor in mid-January 2013 was dead by late April, but a new flow (informally called Kahaualeʻa 2) became active in the same area in early May 2013, waxing with inflation and waning with deflation. The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow died following the onset of a new breakout from the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on June 27, 2014. The June 27th flow advanced to the northeast, confined to old grounds cracks for part of its length, and has been slowly approaching the town of Pāhoa.

Hazard Summary:
East Rift Zone vents and flow field Lava flows from the June 27 breakout pose no immediate threat to residential areas. Near-vent areas could erupt or collapse without warning with spatter and/or ash being wafted within the gas plume. In addition, potentially-lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide gas may be present within 1 km downwind of vent areas. Active lava flows within forested areas can produce methane blasts capable of propelling rocks and other debris into the air. All recently active lava flows are within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and adjacent State land managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources or the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Kīlauea Crater Ash and Pele’s hair can be carried several kilometers downwind, and potentially-lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide can be present within 1 km downwind.

Viewing Summary:
East Rift Zone flow field The June 27th lava flow is currently within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed by the Hawaii State Department of Natural Land and Resources (DLNR) due to the ongoing volcanic hazards (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/nars/reserves/hawaii-island/kahaualea/), and the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, also closed by DLNR and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2014/09/12/nr14-113/). According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense website (http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/): “The public is reminded that the flow is not visible and cannot be accessed from any public areas.”

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Cone and Kīlauea Crater These areas are within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park; Park access and viewing information can be found at http://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/lava2.htm.

Definitions of Terms Used:

ash: tephra less than 2 mm (5/64 inches) in size.

CD: Hawai`i County Civil Defense

composite seismic events: is a seismic signal with multiple distinct phases that has been recorded frequently at HVO from the Halemaumau Overlook vent area since its explosive opening in March, 2008. For the composite events recorded at Halemaumau, we typically see an initial high frequency vibration lasting for a few seconds that have been correlated with rockfalls. This is followed by about 30 seconds of a long-period (LP) oscillation with an approximately 2- to 3-second period. The final phase of the signal is several minutes of a very-long-period (VLP) oscillation with an approximately 25- to 30-second period. The LP signals are interpreted to be from the uppermost portion of the conduit and VLP signals are interpreted to be fluid passing through a deep constriction in the conduit through which lava rises to the pond surface we see in the webcam.

DI tilt event: DI is an abbreviation for ‘deflation-inflation’ and describes a geophysical event of uncertain volcanic significance. DI events are recorded by tiltmeters at Kilauea summit as an abrupt deflation of up to a few microradians in magnitude lasting several hours (weak DI events) to 2-3 days (strong DI events) followed by an abrupt inflation of approximately equal magnitude. The tilt events are usually accompanied by an increase in summit tremor during the deflation phase. A careful analysis of these events suggests that they may be related to changes in magma supply to a storage reservoir at less than 1 km depth, just east of Halemaumau crater. Usually, though not always, these changes propagate through the magma conduit from the summit to the east rift eruption site, as many of the DI events at Kilauea summit are also recorded at a tiltmeter at PuuOo delayed by several hours. DI events often correlate with lava pulses and/or pauses in the eruption at the Puu Oo/Peace Day vents.

glow: light from an unseen source; indirect light.

Halemaumau Overlook vent: has been difficult to describe concisely. The vent is actually a pit, or crater, in the floor of the larger Halemaumau Crater which is, in turn, in the floor of the larger Kilauea caldera or crater – a crater within a crater within a crater. It is easiest to describe as a pit inset within the floor of a crater within a caldera. The pit is about 160 m (525 ft) in diameter at the Halemaumau Crater floor, is about 50 m in diameter at a depth of 200 m (660 ft) below the Halemaumau Crater floor. From November, 2009, to now, a lava pond surface has been visible in this pit.

incandescence: the production of visible light from a hot surface. The term also refers to the light emitted from a hot surface. The color of the light is related to surface temperature. Some surfaces can display dull red incandescence at temperatures as low as 430 degrees Centigrade (806 degrees Fahrenheit). By contrast, molten lava displays bright orange to orange-yellow light from surfaces that are hotter than 900 degrees C (1,650 degrees F).

LPs: – Long Period (LP) events refer to earthquakes that have a lower frequency or tone than typical earthquakes and are usually attributed to the resonance of fluid- and gas-filled conduits, cracks and/or chambers. Because of their association with fluids and gases, LP earthquakes in the vicinity of volcanoes can be useful for monitoring purposes. At other volcanoes LP earthquakes are also known as low-frequency earthquakes, tornillos or B-type earthquakes.

mauka, makai: Hawaiian terms for directions relative to the coast – makai or ma kai (toward the coast) and mauka or ma uka (toward the highlands or away from the coast).

microradian: a measure of angle equivalent to 0.000057 degrees.

pali: Hawaiian term for cliff or precipice.

rise/fall events: one of the episodic behaviors exhibited by the summit lava lake starting in 2009. An event starts with a rise in lava level, a decrease in high-frequency summit tremor amplitude, a decrease or total stoppage of spattering, and a small decrease in tilt. After a period of minutes to hours, the lava will abruptly drain back to its previous level amidst resumed vigorous spattering, seismic tremor amplitude will increase for a short time (a seismic tremor burst) before resuming background levels, and summit tilt will return to its previous level. Gas emissions decrease significantly during the high lava stand (the plume gets wispy), and resume during its draining phase. Taken together, the geophysical characteristics suggest that, during the high lava stand, lava is puffed up with gas trapped under the lava lake crust.

seismic tremor dropout: these behaviors are identical to rise/fall events except that the lava lake level doesn’t rise or fall significantly. High-frequency seismic tremor, gas emissions, and spattering decrease abruptly during a dropout. A dropout can end with a burst of seismic tremor and a significant pulse of gas emissions.

tephra: all material deposited by fallout from an eruption-related plume, regardless of size.

tonne (t): metric unit equal to 1,000 kilograms, 2,204.6 lbs, or 0.984 English tons.

More definitions with photos can be found at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/images/pglossary/index.php.

Additional Information:
For a definition of volcano alert levels and aviation color codes: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/index.php

Maps, photos, Webcam views, and other information about Kilauea Volcano are available at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/activity/kilaueastatus.php. A daily update summary is available by phone at .

A map with details of earthquakes located within the past two weeks can be found at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic/volcweb/earthquakes/

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.