Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō 61G lava flow crosses the coastal emergency road and enters the ocean


Just over two months since the start of the 61g flow, it reached the ocean on July 26 at 1:15 am HST. The narrow ocean entry was creating a small plume of gas and steam during today’s overflight as the lava came into contact with the ocean. Video taken Tuesday, July 26, 2016 courtesy of USGS/HVO

Tuesday, July 26,2016 U.S. Geological Survey/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

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

Activity Summary: Eruptive activity continues at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit and East Rift Zone. The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō entered the ocean, as of 1:12 a.m. HST, but poses no threat to nearby communities. The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater continues to circulate and intermittently spatter. Seismicity and deformation rates throughout the volcano remain at background levels.

Summit Observations: The lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remains active. The depth to the lake was estimated at 25.5 m (84 ft) below the crater rim, measured on Sunday. Tiltmeters at Kīlauea’s summit recorded flat tilt. Seismicity is within normal, background rates with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering. The summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 2,400 to 5,000 metric tons/day.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcam images over the past 24 hours show persistent glow at long-term sources within the crater. There were no significant changes in seismicity or tilt over the past 24 hours. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents on July 25 was about 280 metric tons/day.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō towards the coastal plain on Kīlauea’s south flank remains active. The 61G lava flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō entered the ocean, as of as of 1:12 a.m. HST, last night. Areas of incandescence remain visible in overnight webcam views of the active lava flow field, marking lava tube skylights and areas of active lava on the pali and along the flow as it extends towards the coast.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry (location where lava meets the sea) for Flow 61G, 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. 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.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of July 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on July 26 is shown in red. Lava reached the ocean on the morning of July 26. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.  The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 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. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of July 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on July 26 is shown in red. Lava reached the ocean on the morning of July 26. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.
The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 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. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

This image shows a thermal map of the flow on the pali and coastal plain, created from airborne thermal images. White pixels are hot, and show areas of active surface breakouts. The background image is a satellite image collected before the current lava flow was active.  The thermal map shows scattered pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain, with a narrow lobe of lava crossing the gravel road and extending to the ocean. In addition, a narrow lobe was advancing along the western margin of the flow on the coastal plain.

This image shows a thermal map of the flow on the pali and coastal plain, created from airborne thermal images. White pixels are hot, and show areas of active surface breakouts. The background image is a satellite image collected before the current lava flow was active.
The thermal map shows scattered pāhoehoe breakouts on the coastal plain, with a narrow lobe of lava crossing the gravel road and extending to the ocean. In addition, a narrow lobe was advancing along the western margin of the flow on the coastal plain.

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