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Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for August 10, 2017

Video courtesy of Tropical Visions Video with air transportation by Paradise Helicopters.


This time-lapse sequence shows the outgassing plume from the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea. The images were captured by a camera on the flank of Mauna Loa on May 19, 2017. As the plume rose from the vent, it reached the atmospheric inversion layer, which effectively capped the height of the plume.


Time-lapse thermal image movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Kīlauea Caldera from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Crater looking Southwest. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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

This past week, Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake level fluctuated in concert with summit inflation and deflation, ranging about 35–42 m (115–138 ft) below the vent rim. On the East Rift Zone, the 61g flow remained active, with lava entering the ocean near Kamokuna and surface breakouts downslope of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Widening cracks and slumping on the Kamokuna lava delta indicate its instability and potential for collapse. The 61g flows do not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. During the past week, small-magnitude earthquakes continued to occur beneath the volcano, primarily in the south caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone, at depths less than 5 km (3 mi). GPS measurements continue to show deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone. No significant changes in volcanic gas emissions were measured.

One earthquake with three or more felt reports occurred on the Island of Hawaiʻi during the past week: On August 8, at 12:55 a.m. HST, a magnitude-3.0 earthquake occurred 3 km (2 mi) southwest of Volcano at 13 km (8 mi) depth.

Please visit the HVO website (volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea daily eruption updates, Mauna Loa weekly updates, volcano photos, recent earthquakes info, and more. Call for summary updates at 808-967-8862 (Kīlauea) or 808-967-8866 (Mauna Loa). Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.


Time-lapse movie of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse image movie from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana. August 3-10, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea's East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of July 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of August 9 is shown in red. Older Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube. The blue lines over the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō 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 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of August 9 is shown in red. Older Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube.
The blue lines over the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō 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 map is similar to the map above but shows a thermal map over the Episode 61g lava flow. Cooler colors (blue and green) show cooled, inactive portions of the flow surface. Hot colors (red and orange) show areas of active surface breakouts. In some places, the trace of the subsurface lava tube can be seen due to the slightly higher temperatures on the surface (for instance, the tube is visible just upslope of the Kamokuna ocean entry). Areas of the Episode 61g flow not covered by the thermal map are shown as dark gray.   The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field.

This map is similar to the map above but shows a thermal map over the Episode 61g lava flow. Cooler colors (blue and green) show cooled, inactive portions of the flow surface. Hot colors (red and orange) show areas of active surface breakouts. In some places, the trace of the subsurface lava tube can be seen due to the slightly higher temperatures on the surface (for instance, the tube is visible just upslope of the Kamokuna ocean entry). Areas of the Episode 61g flow not covered by the thermal map are shown as dark gray.
The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field.

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