Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Volcano Activity Information & Updates
Saturday | December 13 | 2014
The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Service reportsthatKīlauea Volcano continues it’s active eruption in two locations:Halema’uma’u crater in Kīlauea’s summit area, and Pu’u ‘Ō’ō crater within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s east rift. Both eruption sites are creating elevated sulphur dioxide gas emissions. At the middle East Rift Zone, the June 27th flow is mainly active beyond the eastern most portion of the ground crack system. Now considered the new flow front, activity is primarily concentrated in a narrow finger running parallel to the flow’s original north-northwesterly margin. Moving at an advancement rate of about 0.2 miles, or 320 meters per day - over the past three days - the leading edge of the June 27th flow is approximately 1.7 miles, or 2.7 km above the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, in a straight-line distance from Pāhoa Marketplace.
Halema’uma’u Crater The simplest way to view Kīlauea Volcano’s eruptive activity is from Kīlauea’s caldera rim area, with the Jaggar Museum as the most ideal location. But, you will not see active lava flow here. What you will see is:
During daylight hours a towering billowing ash and volcanic gas plume emitting from Halema’uma’u pit crater. A signal to the fact that there’s really a lot going on under the surface! In the past 24 hours seismic tremor remained low and varied beneath Kīlauea’s summit.
At dusk and nighttime hours it gets a bit more exciting. As of Saturday, December 13, 2014 the molten lava lake that churns energetically within Halema’uma’u crater remains stable, exhibiting almost daily inflations, or deflations. The lake itself continues to fluctuate, and is currently reported to range from approximately 160 feet (49 m) to 200 feet (61 m) below the surface. Still considered relatively high, the levels of the lava lake make for impressively striking effects, as the crater’s plume glows with reds, pinks, and yellows and appears to be spewing fire.
Pu’u ‘Ō’ō Vent and Cone All the drama is more difficult to observe; lava continues to flow in the Park’s east rift zone.
It is presently considered illegal and highly dangerous to attempt hiking to view Pu’u ‘Ō’ō’s leading edge, current ground crack and surface flow activity. The length of the flow field is mostly within the closed-access areas of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and adjacent State land managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, or the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. These areas include the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve (NAR), and the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve (DLNR, OHA). Entry into closed lands is a violation of Hawai’i law and is subject of penalty up to $5,000. Additionally, the Governor’s recent emergency proclamation enhances the penalties for any offense committed during this time.
Within the Pu’u ‘Ō’ō crater, visible glow and incandescence is mostly present from multiple sources including hot openings an out gassings within the crater’s numerous pits, including north, northeast, south, and southeast areas of the crater floor. Frequently, these vents can overflow, creating surface lava ponds.
As of Saturday, December 13, 2014, the USGS reports the June 27th flow’s surface activity continues in the upslope portion of the June 27th flow field. Activity is located in the area from the base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, to an advancing narrow lobe which branches off the western edge of the original flow field, to the northeast of the East Rift Zone’s ground crack system.
HVO and County of Hawai’i Civil Defense observations over the past 24-hours include:
The June 27th flow continues with surface activity moving in a narrow finger of lava away from the western edge of the existing flow field. Considered the new flow front of the June 27th flow, surface lava is now located well beyond the East Rift Zone ground crack system. The current flow has advanced about 0.6 miles, or 900 meters since the afternoon of December 9, 2014. This is equivalent to an average advancement rate of approximately 0.2 miles, or 320 meters per day, over the past three days. Along its length, the width of the active finger varies from about 90 yards, or 80 meters up to 360 yards, or 330 meters.
The active lobe is following a steepest-descent path that takes the flow towards the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, in the vicinity of the Pāhoa Marketplace. As of yesterday, Friday, December 12, 2014 the leading edge was approximately 1.6 miles, or 2.6 km above the intersection of Pāhoa Village Road and Highway 130, as measured along the path of steepest-descent from the western edge of Pāhoa Marketplace. Alternatively, as measured in a straight-line distance, the June 27th flow front was located around 1.7 miles, or 2.7 km from the Marketplace. Currently, the June 27th flow front has entered into an area where existing vegetation had been burned. This has resulted in a significant reduction of area smoke cover.
In addition to this active lobe, a breakout from the June 27th flow lava tube, occurring on December 5, approximately 1.6 miles, or 2.6 km east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains weakly active. The breakout is about 0.6 mile, or 1 km in length, and has widened the flow field in this area by about 220 yards, or 200 meters.
HOV observations of the original stalled flow front, which extends from the crack system into Pāhoa Village indicate that this section of the June 27th flow lava tube is not being reoccupied, and that this lobe of the flow is effectively inactive.
During fieldwork on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, HVO scientists were able to measure a cross-sectional area of the lava stream within the June 27th flow tube near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Their data indicated a slight increase in lava, compared to measurements taken on December 1, 2014.
The County of Hawai’i Civil Defense reports burning vegetation, which is creating moderate to heavy smokey air conditions, with winds pushing smoke downslope in a southeasterly direction.
The June 27th flow is the first to threaten a residential area since 2010-2011. Based on the current flow location, direction and advancement, none of the flow’s breakout activity poses an immediate threat to area communities. Flow activity continues to be monitored daily.
The USGS reminds that daily fluctuations in flow advancement rate are common for pahoehoe lava flows - the smooth, billowy, rolling, or ropy surface created by the movement of very fluid lava under a solidifying surface crust. They continue to advise the advancement rate of the June 27th flow could rise or fall again in the coming days due to the variable nature of the eruption.
Pu’u ‘Ō’ō’s dramatic activity can only safely be viewed from above, but at times can be obscured, due to dense ash, gas emissions, steam and smoke plumes. (See the photos below, and to your right for and idea of what you may see.)
Within the “Peace Day” flow to the southeast, as of today, there is no clear evidence of any lava flow activity above or below the pali, or on the coastal plain; and all lava ocean entry has ceased.
Currently, Pu’u ‘Ō’ō’s east rift activity can not be viewed from the County of Hawaii’s Kalapana Viewing Area.
To learn more about how you can safely and legally view Pu’u ‘Ō’ō’s active lava flow visit the: Kīlauea Volcano & Big Island By Air section of this website on taking an air tour to view the current eruption sites.
The information provided in this section is sourced and credited to: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, December 1, 2014 the June 27th flow breakouts, which began about two weeks ago within the East Rift Zone ground cracks, have broken away from the original flow field. Creating a new front, the lobe of lava is advancing by about a quarter mile, or 0.4 km per day in a north-northeastern direction, parallel to the older flow.
Photo credit & copyright: Hawai'i County Civil Defense
Photo Above: Taken the morning of Monday, December 1, 2014, the June 27th flow continues breakout activity where lava exits the area’s ground crack system and takes a prominent northward bend.
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, November 17, 2014, active breakouts from June 27th flow tube system are seen near Puʻu Kahaualeʻa cinder cone approximately 1.1 miles, or 1.8 km downslope of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This photo was taken looking toward the southwest, with Puʻu ʻŌʻō seen on the skyline in the middle.
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, November 17, 2014, the view looking downhill toward the stalled tip of the June 27th flow and Pāhoa Village Road. The area’s transfer station facility is seen in the left of photo with inactive lava just within the boundary. At this time, no active lava breakouts were observed in the flow’s frontal field, or below the crack system.
Photo Above: A common sight over the past few days, on Sunday, November 2, 2014a breakout occurs from an inflated lobe of the June 27th lava flow. Taking place upslope, this activity is filling in low points behind the stalled flow front.
Photo Courtesy and Copyright: Hollyn Johnson and Stephens Media Hawaii
Photo Above: Taken on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 the June 27th flow’s front has crossed Apa’a Street; moving rapidly through private residential property on its way into the heart of Hawai’i Island’s Pāhoa Village.
Photo credit & copyright: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, who gratefully thank the owners of this private property for allowing access and permission to work on their land and publish this photo
Photo Above: Taken on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, immediately northwest of the town of Pāhoa, Pahoehoe lava from the June 27th flow crossed a fence line, pushing into private residential property. HVO scientists call attention to the inflated flow behind the fence, which was chest-high.
Photo Above: Seen Sunday, October 26, 2014, a narrow band of lava from the June 27th flow passed through the Pāhoa Cemetery, inundating it, as it continued eastward toward Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo credit and copyright: Mileka Lincoln and Hawaiʻi News Now
Photo Above: Seen from above on Sunday, October 26, 2014, the June 27th flow crossed Apaʻa Street (Cemetery Road) and was moving at rates up to 11 to 16 yards, or 10 and 15 meters per hour. The fastest advancing finger of lava is now only about 620 yards, or 570 meters from Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo Above: On Saturday, October 25, 2014, the June 27th lava flow crossed Apaʻa Street (Cemetery Road) at 3:50 a.m., HST. In this photo, taken at about 9 a.m., the flow is moving from right to left, with burning asphalt visible along its northwest margin. A utility pole, far right, was surrounded by lava but remained standing at the time of the photo.
Photo Above: Taken on Friday, October 24, 2014, the June 27th flow remains active, and has advanced at an increased rate over the past two days. At this time, the flow front was pushing ahead as a narrow lobe, and was just 150 yards, or 135 m from Apaʻa Street (Cemetery Road). The vent for the June 27th flow is on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (top of photograph), which is nearly 12 miles, or 19 km away.
Photo Above: Taken on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 the June 27th lava flow remained active, but at a much reduced advancement rate of only about 55 yards, or 50 meters in two days. Still too close for comfort, the flow front was 0.7 miles, or 1.1 km from Apaʻa Street, as measured along a straight line.
Photo Above:As seen on Monday, October 6, 2014 the June 27th lava flow continued advancing towards the northeast. Moving in a narrow lobe through thick forest, its leading front triggered a brush fire active north of the flow. At this time, the flow was 1.1 miles, or 1.7 km upslope of Apaʻa St., and 1.7 miles, or 2.7 km from Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo Above: Getting Closer. Taken on Friday, October 10, 2014 the June 27th lava flow continues advancing towards the northeast. Though only about 600 feet, or 185 meters wide, the front is now only around 0.8 miles, or 1.3 km upslope from Apaʻa Street, and 1.5 miles, or 2.4 km from Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo credit and copyright: Bruce Omori and Paradise Helicopters
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, September 29, 2014, active surface lava from the June 27th flow’s margins is seen from above - burning dense forest.
Photo credit and copyright: Bruce Omori and Paradise Helicopters
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, September 29, 2014, molten lava is seen spilling out of its robust, underground lava tube, midway along the length of the June 27th flow.
Photo Courtesy and Copyright USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Photo Above: Pictured on September 17, 2014, Kīlauea Volcano’s summit eruption continues, with its active lava lake located inside Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. At the time of this photo, the lake was roughly 170 feet or 53 meters below the floor of the crater itself. With an average temperature of around 2,200 degrees fahrenheit, or 1,200 degrees celsius, the Kīlauea’s summit lava lake is one hot spot!Just how big is Hale’ma’uma’u’s lava lake? The lake is about 720 feet (220 m) long and 525 feet (160 m) wide – the area of about 21 Olympic-sized pools!
Photo courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Photo Above:Closer up, the small (10 m, or 30 ft, wide) lava pond within Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s northeast spatter
cone experiences cyclic rises and falls of the lava surface, driven by the
buildup and release of volcanic gas. Seen here in March 2014.
Photo Right: Taken on September 8, 2014, closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō several small lava flow breakouts, producing burning foliage along the middle part of the June 27th flow remain. The current lava flow front can be seen in the far upper left.
Lava Flow Satellite Imagery
Image Courtesy and Copyright USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Image Above:The area of the June 27th flow on December 9, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. HST is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 12 at 10:00 a.m. HST is shown in red. The dotted blue lines, indicate pertinent steepest-descent paths, which the USGS HVO uses to predict possible pathways the flow may follow.
At the time of this mapping, the June 27th flow had advanced approximately 0.6 miles, or 0.9 km, in slightly less than three days. The active front of the June 27th flow was around 1.6 miles, or 2.6 km from the western edge of Pāhoa Marketplace, tracking along the path of steepest descent, which the flow is currently following. Notations have been placed along the steepest-descent path at an interval of 0.4 mile, measured from the Marketplace.
Lava Flow Maps
Map Courtesy and Copyright USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Above and Below: December 9, 2014 Lava Flow Maps. Click images to view larger.
Map Above: The area of the June 27th flow on December 1, 2014 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 9, 2014 is shown in red. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray.At the time of this mapping surface flow activity was mainly focused in a narrow finger of lava, which has branched off the western edge of the flow field, north of the East Rift Zone ground crack system. These pāhoehoe flows are moving downslope, parallel to, and west of the previous lava flow field. The front of this finger was 2.1 miles, or 4.6 km west of the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road at the Pahoa Marketplace. A breakout was also active on the upper part of the flow field, approximately 2.0 miles, or 3.3 km northeastward of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.
Map Below: This small-scale map shows the far distant part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Hawaii Big Island communities located in its Puna district.
Map Courtesy and Copyright USGS - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
County of Hawaii Lava Viewing Area Hotline The phone line is updated daily with current lava viewing hours and conditions for the County’s Lava Viewing Area located in Kalapana overlooking Kīlauea’s east rift zone. Call: (808) 961-8093
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, December 1, 2014, a closer look at the narrow lava channel near the June 27th flow’s leading edge. The channel consists of both open flowing sections, and parts that have crusted over.
Photo Above: Taken on Monday, November 24, 2014, breakouts continue closer to Pu’u ‘Ō’ō within the area’s ground crack system, near an abandoned geothermal well site. Advancing very slowly along the flow’s northern margin, the current activity is visibly lighter, while the older portions of the June 27th flow appear darker.
Photo Above: Taken on Thursday, November 20, 2014, the farthest breakouts were situated around the ground crack system about 1.2 miles, or 1.9 km west of the Kaohe Homesteads community. Covering the existing flow, the activity triggered brush fires and frequent methane explosions.
Photo Above: Taken on Sunday, November 16, 2014, during the prior week lava had reached the outer fence of the area’s transfer station facility, sending several small cascades through the fence and down the embankment. Seen at the top of the photo, the stalled lava continued to inflate to a height higher than the fence.
Photo Above: Taken on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, the June 27th flow front was active, creeping slowly through private property. The flow’s leading edge, at the time of this photo was about 235 yards, or 215 meters from Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo Above: Seen Thursday, October 30, 2014, a breakout of characteristically ropey pāhoehoe lava along the June 27th flow’s frontal margin. Just upslope of Apaʻa Street, it burns vegetation near the Pāhoa transfer station facility.
Photo Above: On Monday, October 27, 2014 the June 27th lava flow front can be seen nearing residential areas in the northwest portion of the town of Pāhoa. Taken at 11:30 a.m., at that time the flow front was about 0.3 miles, or 540 meters from Pāhoa Village Road.
Photo Above: Taken on Sunday, October 26, 2014, the June 27th flow front continues to advance towards the northeast. As lava moves through an open field below Apaʻa Street (Cemetery Road) an HVO geologist maps its margin.
Photo credit and copyright: Alan Lakritz
Photo Above: Taken on Saturday, October 25, 2014, approximately 2,000 degrees fahrenheit, or 3,632 degrees celsius lava is seen burning Apaʻa Street (Cemetery Road) as it rolls right along.
Photo Above: Seen on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater obscured by thick fume. In the lower portion of the photograph, a trail of fume sources marks the path of the June 27th lava tube. The broad circular feature in the left portion of the photograph is a perched lava pond that was active in July of this year.
Photo Above:Taken on Wednesday, September 24 2014 the June 27th flow’s front ceased advancement and remains relatively inactive. Smaller areas of activity have been observed scattered behind the flow front, with one breakout advancing very slowly northeast from the flow’s north edge. The burn scar in the foreground was caused by a brush fire triggered by the lava flow over the past weekend. It covers much of the lower portion of this photograph.
Photo credit and copyright: Kawahine Medeiros
Photo Above: Taken on September 19, 2014, night skies afire from the June 27th flow. Still a distant 2 miles, or 3.2 km from Pāhoa town, Pele’s wrath warns of impending doom.
Photo Above: Taken on Friday, September 19, the June 27th flow remains active and heading north-northeast, moving through Kaohe Homesteads neighborhood. For several weeks the flow had been moving through thick forest, but as of Friday, the flow front reached the forest boundary, moving on to open ground. The flow front at the time of this photo was 2.4 km (1.5 miles) upslope of Apaʻa St.
Photo Above: Taken on August 28, 2014, Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s upper northeast flank and the active lava flow vent that began June 27. The vent area is now covered by lava, but the lava tube that carries lava to the flow front is clearly visible by the line of blue-colored fume. In the lower right, two skylights can be seen.
Photo Above: Seen on September 1, 2014 looking westward back toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the distance, surface flows at the front of the June 27th flow continue slowly moving through thick forest creating scattered brush fires and near its leading edge, a swiftly moving stream of lava continues pouring into a deep ground crack.