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Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for September 17, 2015


Time-lapse thermal image movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent from the West Rim of Halemaumau Crater. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Crater from the south rim. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Crater looking Southwest. September 10-17, 2015. Images courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

(Activity updates are written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.)

Kīlauea’s summit lava lake level, which fluctuates in response to summit inflation and deflation, varied this past week between about 55 and 72 m (180–236 ft) below the vent rim within Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava continues to feed scattered breakouts northeast and east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. All active lava remains within about 8 km (5 mi) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Some breakouts are evident by smoke plumes from burning vegetation where lava creeps into the forest.

One earthquake was reported felt on the Island of Hawai‘i during the past week. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at 12:32 p.m., HST, a magnitude-3.7 earthquake occurred 6.2 km (3.8 mi) southeast of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater at a depth of 8.1 km (5.0 mi).

Please visit the HVO website (hvo.wr.usgs.gov) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea daily eruption updates and other volcano status reports, current volcano photos, recent earthquakes, and more; call (808) 967-8862 for a Kīlauea summary update; email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to the eastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the flow on August 26 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of September 11 is shown in red. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. The black box shows the extent of the accompanying large scale map. The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth's surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. The base map is a partly transparent regional land cover map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management draped over the 1983 DEM. The bathymetry is also from NOAA. Because the flow field is changing very little at the moment, mapping of the lava flow is being conducted relatively infrequently. We will return to more frequent mapping if warranted by an increase in activity.

This map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to the eastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the flow on August 26 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of September 11 is shown in red. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system. The black box shows the extent of the accompanying large scale map.
The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray. The base map is a partly transparent regional land cover map from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Coastal Management draped over the 1983 DEM. The bathymetry is also from NOAA.
Because the flow field is changing very little at the moment, mapping of the lava flow is being conducted relatively infrequently. We will return to more frequent mapping if warranted by an increase in activity.

This map overlays a georeferenced thermal image mosaic onto a map of the flow field to show the distribution of active and recently active breakouts. The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight of the flow field on September 11. The June 27th flow is outlined in green to highlight the current flow margin. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system.

This map overlays a georeferenced thermal image mosaic onto a map of the flow field to show the distribution of active and recently active breakouts. The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight of the flow field on September 11. The June 27th flow is outlined in green to highlight the current flow margin. The yellow lines show the active lava tube system.

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