Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Large Lava Plumes Rise High Into Blue Skies - but deflation period begins

The USGS inflation/deflation (Deformation) graph pictured above shows a sharp drop in lava pressure within the Kilauea Volcano. This will translate on the ground as a weaker lava flow to the sea by tonight.

Muggy was the word for yesterday and for a one-to-none bed sheet night. But this morning dawned with the blessing of a slightest of Trade breezes.

The almost lack of wind caused the plume from the lava ocean entry to rise nearly straight up for close to two thousand feet this morning , making it look huge even from my upper lanai eighteen miles away.

The same was reported on the US Geological Survey’s Kilauea eruption website this morning regarding the sulfur dioxide plume rising high from the active vent on the floor of Halema`uma`u crater.

I did not make it out to the Waikupanaha coastal lava viewing area last night but here is a direct quote from this mornings USGS update page:
“Last night, CD (Civil Defense) officials reported another beautiful viewing night with lava entering the ocean across a beach; surface flows were active high on the pali (within the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision) and was moving eastward and down the pali (cliffs).”
I will go out there tonight and check it out.

Surf here along the east & southeast is fairly quite at 1 to 3 feet, but reports from Oahu are expecting a solid north swell.

4:30 PM update: The Civil Defense closed the lava viewing area at 4:00PM due to light & variable winds bending the large and toxic plume back over the viewing area. Toxins in the plume are many; with the worst ones being sulfur dioxide, glass particles and hydrochloric acid. The acid rains down from the plume like fine raindrops but burns the eyes even at a mile or two from the ocean entry. Floating glass fragments destroy lungs…. This is why we have a ‘safe viewing area’.

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