Lava can again be seen flowing from a volcano on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. Lava flows today have reached the edge of a slope, which is sending the lava along the ridge to the east and west. Eastern flows bring the lava closer to residences. The United States Geological Service says that if the flows get stronger, they may push over the ridge and into the ocean. The USGS created a composite image that uses a normal photograph along with thermal imaging to show the active flow front in Kalapana.
Beginning last weekend, eruptive activity took place at two locations. One is in what is called the "east rift zone" where lava is flowing through tubes to the surface along highway 137. That advance is near homes. As the lava met the Kalapana access road, the burning asphalt created a plume of thick, black smoke.
Big Island police caution visitors that travel is restricted in that area. Vehicles are allowed to drive into the roadway from the point where Route 130 is covered by lava up to a parking lot with a guard shack. Beyond that point, the road is closed to everyone but residents. The only people allowed to park along the road beyond the warning sign are those who work with the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
A second area of activity is at the summit eruptive vent within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. There, a "crusted and circulating lava pond produced red glow visible from the Jaggar Museum overnight." A description of this vent is provided by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
"Halema`uma`u Overlook vent: has been difficult to describe concisely. The vent is actually a pit, or crater, in the floor of the larger Halema`uma`u Crater in the floor of the larger Kilauea caldera or crater – a crater within a crater within a crater. It is easiest to describe as a pit inset within the floor of a crater within a caldera. The pit is about 140 m (460 ft) in diameter at the Halema`uma`u Crater floor, is about 50 m in diameter at the pit floor, and is about 200 m (660 ft) deep. As of November, 2009, a lava pond surface has been visible in a hole in the floor of this pit."
Kilauea is always an active volcano, but fresh lava flows do not always extend out to where they are visibile by residents or visitors. Kilauea erupts from three main areas: its summit and two rift zones. The summit is high due to the frequent eruptions but the USGS says more eruptions occur at the long rift zones, which creates ridges that reach out from the summit. Many of the eruptions are gentle, with lava flows of several yards that increase the hight of the summit and build up the rift zones. According to the USGS, sporadic explosions will continue to cause destruction, "We cannot tell how much larger Kilauea will grow or when it will stop, but it will surely continue to erupt through the rest of human history"
(Photo of lava on road by Richard Denton, thermal image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.)
July 24th, 2010
Following a three-day pause in surface flow activity due to diminished lava supply during summit deflation, breakouts resumed on March 12 as the summit reinflated and lava supply increased. These breakouts continue at the time of writing (March 18) and are situated well above the pali, about 1.6 km (1 mile) above Royal Gardens subdivision, with no current activity on the coastal plain or in the National Park.
At Kīlauea’s summit, a spattering and roiling lava surface deep within the collapse pit inset within the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater was occasionally visible via Webcam during the past week. The lava surface rose significantly in response to the inflation phase of last week’s deflation-inflation (DI) event, but is still deep within the vent cavity. Volcanic gas emissions remain elevated, resulting in high concentrations of sulfur dioxide downwind.
One earthquake beneath Hawai`i Island was reported felt during the past week. A magnitude-2.5 earthquake occurred at 1:41 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, H.s.t., and was located 5 km (3 miles) northeast of Makawao, Maui, at a depth of 21 km (19 miles).
Volcano Watch is a weekly article and activity update written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
March 29th, 2010
You may have heard about it. There’s a legend that says Madam Pele, the
Hawaiian goddess of fire who commands the volcanic action on Hawaii’s Big
Island, lives in the fire pit in Halema’uma’u crater, at the summit caldera of
the Kilauea volcano.
You may also have heard that Madam Pele doesn’t like to have lava rocks
purloined once they have cooled and settled. It is said that anyone who removes
a piece of rock from the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park will incur her wrath.
Bad luck is certain to follow.
Well, visitors take them anyhow. They’re nice souvenirs and they travel well.
But there’s no question about this: Visitors who have taken rocks from Pele’s
land have returned them in hopes of ending scary streaks of bad luck. Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park and most of the hotels are inundated with packages
containing rocks from guilt-ridden vacationers who are intent upon reversing
their sudden spates of misfortune.
Pets die. Jobs are lost. Houses burn down. Sudden and devastating illness
strikes loved ones. Marriages break apart.
These are actual quotes from former Big-Island vacationers:
Please take this rock and put it back somewhere on your island.
I have had very bad luck since it came into my life and I am very sorry I took
it. Please forgive me and I pray that once I send it
back where it comes from, my bad luck will go away.
Ever since we have taken items, we have had nothing but back luck and
medical problems. We apologize for taking the items, so we are returning
same to Hawaii.
We placed the rock last fall on a cast iron chair in our garden; this
spring the chair’s leg had fallen off. That’s the least of the problems
we have had since we’ve taken the rock.
Please return these rocks to their rightful spot. I never had so much
bad luck as I’ve had since I returned from Hawaii.
I picked up a small piece of lava somewhere, (we are rock and crystal
collectors), never dreaming of what might come. Since then we have lost
half of our retirement savings to a scam artist and will have to go back
to work. Please work your magic on the enclosed piece of lava and
hopefully nothing worse will happen.
There are thousands more like those. The Volcano Post Office, Volcano National
Park and lots of hotels find the returned rocks a nuisance (although they
faithfully dispose of them by tossing them onto a big pile right behind the
Volcano Visitor Center.)
The Volcano Gallery on the Big Island gladly accepts returned rocks. Once they
receive the rocks they carefully wrap them in ti leaves and return them to a
special location in Volcano close to Pele’s home, along with an offering of
orchids to ask for her forgiveness. For the service, the gallery asks for a
donation of $15, but will perform the service in any case.
What, you’ve been to Hawaii and have a lava rock? You can still return it.
Here’s the address:
Rainbow Moon Attn: Lava Rock Return P.O. Box 699, Volcano, HI 96785
Posted by Jim Winpenny
October 22nd, 2008