We got our first close up look at the newly remodeled Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea’s summit this morning… and she is absolutely stunning! Halemaumau has grown to over a mile wide… and is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-hundred feet deep. There is no active lava within the enormous crater, but plenty of steam, huge cracks and roads destroyed in the caldera. There is so much change in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, it’s often hard to get your bearings. Halemaumau’s parking lot is gone, as is a half mile of the chain of craters road once used to access the vent.
It is now about two months since the eruption went into a pause… or lull, as scientists call it. And although the USGS stated last recently that lava is unlikely to erupt anytime soon, they have shared that they have detected lava moving back into the system. Some earthquakes have occurred recently, but there is still a general lack of seismicity both at the summit and the lower east rift zone.
A solo Halloween Ducky joined us today as Leilani was MIA (foul play is suspected at this spooky time of year). Bruce Omori and I enjoyed the expertise of Paradise Helicopters’ pilot Sean Regehr, as he guided us stealthily around Kilauea Caldera. Paradise Helicopters and Sean… no ka oi!
USGS report for 10/16/18
Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano is not erupting. Rates of seismicity, deformation, and gas release have not changed significantly over the past week. Deformation signals are consistent with refilling of the middle East Rift Zone.
Observations: HVO monitoring during the past week shows low rates of seismicity at the summit and East Rift Zone (ERZ). Earthquakes continue to occur primarily at Kīlauea’s summit area and south flank (magnitude-2.5 was the largest) with continued small aftershocks of the magnitude-6.9 quake on May 4, 2018. Seismicity remains low in the lower ERZ.
In the ERZ, tiltmeters near Puʻu ʻŌʻō and farther east continue to record an inflationary trend, consistent with refilling of the middle East Rift Zone. At the summit, tiltmeters have recorded a slight inflationary trend; however, this signal is small and could be due to heavy rainfall.
Sulfur dioxide gas emissions at the summit, Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and the ERZ remain drastically reduced. The most recent SO2 emission measurements, from late September, show a combined rate of less than 300 tonnes/day. Bad weather has prevented new SO2 emission rate measurements; however, downwind SO2 concentrations suggest that no major changes have occurred over the last week.
Hazards are still present in the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption area and at the Kīlauea summit. Residents and visitors near recently active fissures and lava flows should stay informed, heed Hawaii County Civil Defense and National Park warnings, and be prepared, if necessary, to self-evacuate in the unlikely event of renewed activity. Please note that Hawaii County maintains a closure of the entire flow field and the vents and prohibits access to the area unless authorized through Civil Defense.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continues to closely monitor Kīlauea’s seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of reactivation, and maintains visual surveillance of the summit and the East Rift Zone. HVO will continue to issue a weekly update (every Tuesday) and additional messages as warranted by changing activity.
If you want to feel the awesome heat of the volcano and take some incredible photos – don’t forget to add our “doors off” option to your tour for an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience.