Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deflation begins ~~ Sulfur Dioxide Plumes Variable – shutting viewing area down

Deflation of magma pressures under Kilauea Volcano has begun, perhaps weakening the amount and forcefulness of the lava reaching the ocean, as shown in this mornings graph above.

Yesterday, just before the viewing area was to open at 5:00 PM the toxic ocean entry plume at Waikupanaha began swinging from the west towards northwest and then wafting towards the northeast. This put the upper portion of the plume nearly overtop the trailhead and viewing-parking area, so Civil Defense personal on hand closed the lava viewing.

This morning we still have the same light and variable wind directions swinging around. Below is a 10:00 AM image of the Nature & Science Air Resources Division’s animated sulfur dioxide readings within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This animation is updated frequently and reveals fairly accurately the changing wind directions that move the toxic plumes up there. Conditions down along the coast with the entry plume are similar, though we often have different coastal breeze directions.

If you have plans to visit the lava viewing area it would be a good idea to keep checking the Civil Defense lava viewing area hotline 961-8093 after 2:00 PM (later than that might be better because they sometimes don’t access the wind situation until 3:30 PM or so)

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