Thursday, October 8, 2009

Widespread Volcanic Haze (Vog) – Sharp Deflation Shutting Down Lava Flow

Photo above taken yesterday afternoon on the lava road that leads to the Civil Defense viewing area parking & trailhead -(SE terminus of highway 130)

Tiltmeters up on Kilauea Volcano summit and the Pu`u O`o crater are continuing to record strong deflation deformation. This translates to a slight collapsing, deforming, of the land from one side to the other of these craters. This data, in turn, means the pressure of the magma below these craters is dropping, which then causes the lava erupting on the surface, and running to the coast through the labyrinth of tubes, to slow down. Continuation of this trend may even stop the entire eruption of lava.The cessation of erupting lava is not too unusual for Kilauea; it happened a couple weeks ago too for 2 days.

Today and tonight will likely not provide any opportunity for people to witness firsthand the lava entering the sea; between the lack of lava and the variable winds pushing plume fumes in all directions, the Civil Defense viewing area will most likely be closed. But you can phone them at (808) 961-8093 to find out. They often announce any changes around 2:00 PM HST. That said, I can still see a moderate plume of lava generated steam rising from the Waikupanaha ocean entry site as I write.
EDIT NOTE: At around 1:30 PM HST Civil Defense announced the lava viewing area is open

Out at the lava viewing area a few nights ago I met a local Hawaiian man who was recounting his memories of watching huge lava fountains in 1959 up in Kilauea Iki crater and a month later down on the coast at the town of Kapoho. The entire town of Kapoho was destroyed by lava fountains & flows; all in just 33 days. If you haven’t watched the four history clips of that eruption I recommend you do. Here is the link to: The Eruption of Kilauea 1959-1960
Also this page gives a detailed history of the 1960 eruption at Kapoho with some photos. My home is on the very edge of rough A`a lava left behind in 1960.

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