Volcano Watch: Kilauea activity update for September 28, 2017


Time-lapse thermal image movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 21-28, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Overlook Vent. September 21-28, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. September 21-28, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Kīlauea Caldera from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. September 21-28, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie of Halemaumau Crater looking Southwest. September 21-28, 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 with summit inflation and deflation and ranged about 34-53 m (112–174 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. Active lava flows and a small collapse were observed on the Kamokuna lava delta this week, and it remains unstable with potential for larger collapses. 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 summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone, primarily at depths less than 5 km (3 mi), with some additional deeper events (5–13 km, or 3–8 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.

No earthquakes were reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week.


Time-lapse movie of Pu’u ‘O’o Crater. September 21-28, 2017. Images courtesy of USGS/HVO


Time-lapse movie from a camera positioned on the southeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking toward the active flow advancing to the southeast. The breakout point is at the left edge of the image, and the mid-field skyline at the right is roughly coincident with the top of the pali. September 21-28, 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. September 21-28, 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 September 1 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of September 21 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 September 1 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of September 21 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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