Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pele’s Bell Curve = Volcano Goddess naptime

The most radical deformation – Inflation/Deflation episode I have ever seen on the graphs has just taken place under Kilauea Volcano. The graphs reflect measurements of highly sensitive tiltmeters stationed on Kilauea caldera and the Pu`u O`o crater that reflect the expansion and contraction, or bending of the earth’s surface from magma changes below the two points.

Molten lava was still present as a distant red glow not far below Pu`u O`o eruption site last night, but this will likely diminish substantially because of the currently strong drop in magma/lava pressures.

Halema’uma’u Crater pit vent, with its broiling lava lake, has been the only accessible lava display to be seen this past week; glowing red at night. This too has receded and will likely offer little in the way of a nighttime lava viewing event.

Both the Halema’uma’u and Pu’u O’o craters continue degassing magma at high levels, releasing an average of 1,700 metric tones of sulfur dioxide each day. Unfortunately these toxic fumes are once again being directed across much of the Big Island and beyond by variable breezes. These past two weeks have seen this vog situation repeated more times than is usual compared with previous years.

Below are some snapshot observations of the sulfur dioxide plume directions and levels as recorded this morning.

Last Updated: 01/10/2010 10:00 AM HST
Current 15-minute average concentration 2.03 ppm
Current SO2 Advisory Level UNHEALTHY
Last Updated: 01/10/2010 9:45 AM HST
Current 15-minute average concentration 1.64 ppm
Current SO2 Advisory Level UNHEALTHY
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

In summary:

I do not see much possibility for any active lava viewing to be seen other than the daytime degassing fumes both in the National Park and down the slopes from Pu’u O’o towards the coast as seen from the Hawaii County lava viewing area’s as shown in my photo below. The magma pressures need to return to a strong inflationary stage for any molten lava surface displays to be witnessed. Watch-N-wait
(Click on the image for a larger size)

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