Saturday, January 30, 2010

Volcano activity weak ~ Winds pushing out the vog

(Click on the image for a larger size)

The photos above I took yesterday of the lower lava flow fields. This is the area the Waikupanaha ocean entry lava tubes run down through. In fact one of them continues to fume even though it has been nearly a month since they deposited lava into the ocean. The text on the photos describes the scene. I did not stay until dark but reports from there say molten lava glow is still being seen in the areas where the forest smoke is in the photos. The USGS/HVO has just posted a great set of aerial views looking down at, and close to, the lands in Royal Gardens where the lava is now flowing; as well as photos showing the broader eruption site and upper flow fields – views impossible to see otherwise.

As the USGS deformation graphs indicate, the very low deflation we are having now will not likely help to increase the lava activity, though a slight up-tic of pressure under Halema’uma’u at posting time is taking place. Also likely affected by the low magma pressures is the night viewing intensity of the lava lake deep down inside the pit vent within Halema’uma’u Crater in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which have weakened considerably since the new deflation event began a few days ago.

Weak southwesterly winds have wafted the sulfur dioxide fumes inland the past few days. The National Park Services special air sensor site has registered some very high toxin levels recently, here are January 27 & January 29th: Changing winds will clear the air over the next week. The darkest colors on the chart indicate hazardous 5.0 ppm SO2 levels or higher.

If you catchment-dependant people are wondering whether you should order a tanker full of water, you could take a look at this National Weather Service Hawaii radar loop to see if rain is coming to your roof. Parts of Oahu, Molokai and Maui got a pretty good, and much needed, dumping last night. A flood advisory was issued at 10:00 PM last night, ending a few hours later.

One of the more interesting satellite imageries is the Northwest Pacific Water vapor loop

*Little to no lava will be seen on the lower active flow fields today or tonight.
*Halema’uma’u Crater pit vent may offer only a slight glow after dark.
*New weather systems from the north will push out the vog and bring a few scattered showers to the Big Island.

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