Monday, September 6, 2010

~ Ocean entry plume goes from huge to nothing Sunday ~

As seen from the Hawaii County viewing access road mid-afternoon yesterday, the ocean entry plume generated by molten lava pouring into the sea was the largest and most intense since it began flowing there on July 25th – it was even spawning those cool steam-twisters like the ones we often saw with the Waikupanaha ocean entry. Suddenly at around 6:00 PM the plume disappeared from view. By early evening only a faint reflective glow could be seen from time to time. At around the same time, reports of brighter surface lava came in from the JanGuard on-site security staff that were stationed at roads end.

The surface lava was also noted by a University Geology crew who walked out from the breakout area around 8:00 PM, which they pinpointed as being the base of the Pulama Pali a couple of miles away from the end of the lava viewing road.

At 9:30 PM yesterday (Sunday the 5th) I surveyed the coastal flats landscape from the access road and could barely locate where the ocean entry was; now just a faint fuzzy glow on the south horizon. I could not see the small surface breakouts from there. Nor could I see any visible lava glow anywhere down the lava tube system on the Pulama Pali – I was anticipating that if the ocean entry lava had all but ceased then the lava in the tube system would maybe breakout somewhere new.

Upon returning home I went on the internet websites of the USGS and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and checked Big Island recent earthquakes, reports, D/I – Deflation/Inflation graphs and all their webcams. I was looking for anomalies that might further indicate changes within the Kilauea volcano eruptive system. Below is a collection of those findings, but essentially I found nothing out of the ordinary except the Pu`u O`o crater cam showed brighter active lava on the southern base of the crater floor, as shown in the 1st image below:

Recent Earthquakes for Hawaii as of 10:00PM Sunday:

Halema’uma’u crater cam at 10:00 PM Sunday:

This morning USGS/HVO stated on their ‘Update page’The crusted and circulating lava surface at the bottom of the deep collapse pit inset in the southeast edge of Halema`uma`u Crater was stable at about 160 m (520 ft) below the crater floor rising to 130 m (425 ft) starting at 11 pm last night and remaining there through this morning. So the webcam image below, that I captured from the crater overlook cam at 1:00AM this morning, was already showing the rising and changing surface of the pit-vent lava:

The USGS/HVO deformation - Deflation/Inflation: electronic tilt monitorsare showing a strong inflation of lava pressures that are slowing but remaining elevated today:

Final Note: This morning, from my home eighteen miles away, I could see that the ocean entry plume had returned. I have no idea if the lava will continue flowing into the sea today, or in the days ahead. Our last ocean entry in April-May only lasted one month. This July-August ocean entry has been flowing nearly seven weeks now.

A reposting below of the basics that continue to be valid:
Both day and night views of our two drive-in volcanoes continue to put on a continuous display of eruptive activity that draws thousands of visitors from around the world every week.

Coastal lava viewingIf conditions remain stable, there will be lava sights to be seen from the viewing road even though the eruption intensity has diminished down in that area. Likely to be seen are: fuming/degassing lines down the mountainside, the slim possibility of vegetation fires or lava breakouts near or far, vast areas of shiny new lava fields with fumes wafting from them, and steam rising into the air where, after some occasional pauses, lava continues entering the ocean a mile away and will glow red-orange after dark.The county viewing area is located at the terminus of Highway 130 near Kalapana. For direct information on what is being seen from the viewing area each day you can phone the Civil Defense directed JanGuard security staff, stationed right on site, between 2:00 PM and 10:00 PM daily at (808) 430-1966 or the Lava Viewing Hotline: 961-8093

Halema’uma’u Crater
The Halema’uma’u crater has been degassing sulfur dioxide fumes by day and glowing strongly at times after dark from lava deep within the craters pit vent. (Photo courtesy of Merlin Braun) The broiling molten lava moves up and down inside this massive eruptive vent at times, in kind of a pistoning action. Great views of this impressive crater are from the Jaggar Museum balcony within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, depending on the weather; and the park is open to the public 24 hours a day with a nominal entrance fee by day.

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