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Kilauea: High levels of volcanic gases including SO2 being emitted from fissures

Posted by feww on May 7, 2018


Monday, May 7, 2018, 7:45 AM HST (Monday, May 7, 2018, 17:45 UTC)

19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Summary: Eruption of lava and gas continues at a low level along Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone within the Leilani Estates subdivision. Overnight, active emission of lava and spatter at multiple fissures was minimal. This is likely only a pause in activity; additional outbreaks or a resumption of activity are anticipated as seismicity continues in the area. Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and the lava lake level continues to drop. There is no active lava in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō area. Aftershocks from Friday’s magnitude-6.9 earthquake continue and more should be expected, with larger aftershocks potentially producing rockfalls and associated ash clouds above Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Seismicity at Kīlauea’s summit remains elevated.

An overflight video from Leilani Estates this afternoon (May 6). Lava erupting from fissure 8 formed an ‘a‘ā flow, which advanced northward about 0.9 km (0.6 miles) by 10:30 a.m HST. This fissure eruption diminished around 4:00 p.m., but the lava flow continued to advance slowly for several hours (last report at about 7 p.m. HST). [USGS/HVO]

Lower East Rift Zone Observations

Lava emission from fissures was minimal overnight. Strong degassing continues from several fissures. Yesterday, a lava flow advanced northward from fissure 8 about 0.9 km (0.6 miles) by 10 a.m., HST before stopping.

In the past 12 hours, deformation of the ground in the area has slowed. Ground cracks are reported crossing Highway 130 west of the eruption site.

Overall seismicity in the area has not changed significantly overnight. Earthquakes continue and seismic stations nearest the fissures record seismicity likely related to ongoing vigorous degassing.

Hazard Analysis:

Continued eruptive activity (fluctuating and intermittent) in the lower East Rift Zone is likely. New outbreaks or resumption of lava production at existing vents can occur at any time.

Areas downslope of erupting fissures are at risk of lava inundation. The general area of Leilani Estates remains at the greatest risk. However, as the eruption progresses, other areas of the lower East Rift Zone may also be at risk.

High levels of volcanic gas including sulphur dioxide are being emitted from the fissure vents. In addition, smoke from burning houses and burning asphalt is a health concern and should be avoided.

As the lava lake level inside Halemaʻumaʻu drops, rockfalls from the enclosing walls may increase in frequency prompting explosions of spatter from the lake onto the nearby crater rim and lofting plumes of ash. Dustings of ash from these events can occur downwind.

Additional aftershocks from the magnitude-6.9 earthquake are expected and some may be strong. Residents are advised to review earthquake preparedness by consulting available resources such as:

Residents of the Puna District should remain alert, review individual, family, and business emergency plans, and watch for further information about the status of the volcano. [USGS]

Lava moving down Makamae Street in Leilani Estates at 9:32 a.m. on May 6, 2018. [USGS/HVO]


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