Kilauea Eruption: Third and fourth explosive eruptions at Halemaumau Monday (May 21)

Hawaii County Civil Defense interactive map of roadblocks, subdivisions, and eruption fissures: hawaii247.com/lavamap

USGS Resources related to the 2018 Kilauea Lower East Rift Zone eruption and Summit Activity

Kīlauea Eruption Information Resources: www.hawaiicounty.gov/lava-rela…

Halemaumau explosive eruption 1:45 a.m. update

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency's Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system. The series shows changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred over May 5 at 6:12 a.m. HST, May 17 at 6:12 a.m. HST, and May 21 at 6:12 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the reflection, with bright areas indicating a strong reflection and dark areas a weak reflection. Strong reflections indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak reflections come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. The May 5 image was acquired before any small explosions occurred from the summit. The May 17 and 21 images show changes to the summit area after the onset of small explosions and ash emissions. Major changes over time include: (1) a darkening of the terrain south of Halema‘uma‘u, which reflects accumulation of ash; (2) enlargement of the summit eruptive vent on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u; and (3) the development of a disrupted area on the east rim of Halema‘uma‘u that may reflect slumping of a portion of the rim towards the growing collapse pit on the crater floor.

This animated GIF shows a sequence of radar amplitude images that were acquired by the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system. The series shows changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred over May 5 at 6:12 a.m. HST, May 17 at 6:12 a.m. HST, and May 21 at 6:12 a.m. HST. The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the reflection, with bright areas indicating a strong reflection and dark areas a weak reflection. Strong reflections indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak reflections come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar.
The May 5 image was acquired before any small explosions occurred from the summit. The May 17 and 21 images show changes to the summit area after the onset of small explosions and ash emissions. Major changes over time include: (1) a darkening of the terrain south of Halema‘uma‘u, which reflects accumulation of ash; (2) enlargement of the summit eruptive vent on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u; and (3) the development of a disrupted area on the east rim of Halema‘uma‘u that may reflect slumping of a portion of the rim towards the growing collapse pit on the crater floor.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that an explosive eruption at Kilauea summit has occurred at 12:55 a.m. and 5:51 p.m. Monday (May 21).  The resulting ash plumes may affect the surrounding areas.  The wind may carry the ash plumes to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala, Naaleh, and Waiohinu.

  • The danger from this eruption is ash fallout.  The major response is to protect yourself from the fallout.
  • If you are at home, stay indoors with the windows closed.  Turn on your radio and listen for updates from authorities.
  • If you are in your car, keep the windows closed.  Ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions, due to limited visibility and slippery driving conditions.  Drive with extreme caution, or pull over and park.
  • After the hazard has passed, do check your home, and especially your catchment system for any impact that may affect your water quality.

Lower East Rift Zone Kilauea Eruption Update


Fissure fountains feed lava flows, as shown in this overflight video of the Fissure 20 complex on May 21, 2018, around 7:20 AM, HST. The video concludes with a view of the bifurcating lava channels that merge closer to the coast (and split again before ocean entry). The white laze plume is the site of ocean entry. Video taken Monday, May 21, 2018 courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey


Lava spatter and splashing build cones at Fissure 22, in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. This video from May 21, 2018, ~8:50 AM, HST, shows how splashing and spattering lava builds cones around fissure sites. The height of the cone at the lower fountain (to the left) is about 14 m (~45 ft). The height of the large lava fountain in the middle is about 46 m (~150 ft). Video taken Monday, May 21, 2018 courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Map as of 8:00 am HST, May 21. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015.

Map as of 8:00 am HST, May 21. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Monday, May 21. The primary lava flows originate from the Fissure 20-22 area. The dominant ocean entry is marked. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. 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. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Monday, May 21. The primary lava flows originate from the Fissure 20-22 area. The dominant ocean entry is marked. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. 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. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe.


USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory status of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii on May 21, 2018.

This is a Civil Defense Message for 12:30 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2018.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that eruptive lava activity at multiple fissures continues with one flow entering the ocean.  Fissure 22 continues to produce most of the lava feeding the flows.

Lava from Fissure 22 has crossed onto the Puna Geothermal Venture property.  County, state and federal partners have been collaborating closely to monitor the situation and work with PGV to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities.  Ten of the eleven wells have been quenched.  Efforts are ongoing to make sure the site is secure and the community is kept safe.

Due to current volcanic activity, the following information is provided for your awareness:

  • Residents in the affected area should be prepared to leave the area with little notice due to gas or lava inundation. Take action necessary to prepare ahead of time.
  • Gas levels remain high. Limit further exposure by sheltering in place or leaving the area.

Due to unsafe conditions, the following policies are in effect:

  • Kalapana and Kapoho Roads are open to residents only. Identification is required.
  • Highway 137 is closed to all traffic between Kamaili Road and Pohoiki Road.
  • Kamaili Road is closed to all thru traffic.

Due to the lava entry at the ocean, the following policies are in effect:

  • Access to the area is prohibited due to the laze hazard.
  • Stay away from any ocean plume since it can change direction without warning.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is actively monitoring the ocean entry area and enforcing a 300 meter standoff zone. Only permitted tour boats are allowed in the area.
  • Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation.
  • Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.
  • Tankers are providing drinking water in Vacationland & Kapoho.
  • For those evacuating, the Pahoa Community Center, Keaau Community Center, and Sure Foundation Church are open.  Food will be provided and the shelters are pet-friendly.

For your information:

  • HELCO advises Leilani Estates residents to be aware of downed power lines.  Always assume the lines are active and exercise extreme caution.
  • At 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 22, 2018, there will be a community meeting at Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

A third shelter has opened.  Sure Foundation, located on Pohaku Circle in Keaau, is now open.

  • People from Pahoa who have breathing concerns are relocating from the Pahoa Community Center shelter to the Sure Foundation shelter. The shelter will cater specifically to people with breathing issues, but everyone is welcome.

Get the latest Vog Predictions here: mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/vmap/

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Vog

Click on image for a full description of air quality levels.

Click on image for full description of air quality levels.

Volcanic gas emissions remain elevated throughout the area downwind of the vents in lower Puna.

  • Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe.
  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) gas from fissures are especially dangerous for elderly, children/babies and people with respiratory problems.

County, State, and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation. You will be informed of any conditions that affect your safety.

Monitor vog levels and forecasts: People on Hawaii Island outside the area of volcanic activity are also advised to monitor levels of vog at vog.ivhhn.org

The residents of Puna are going through a very difficult time.  We ask for your help and understanding.

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