Big party at Madam Pele's house — Kilauea Volcano is afire

Monday, March 07, 2011


Lava pours from the fissure just after daybreak, cascading into a deep crack. For perspective, in the upper right area of the photo just above the tree patch is a small speck — that is a Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory geologist. National Park Service photo.






Pele is the Hawaiian volcano goddess, and she's been quite busy over the weekend. A new fissure has opened next to the Napau Crater after the collapse of the Puu Oo crater floor — molten lava is spewing skyward and cascading in falls. This is some of the footage we're seeing from the staff at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, above, plus a CNN report from the weekend, below.

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Here's the official release from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:
Activity Summary for past 24 hours: There have been significant changes as Kilauea volcano continued to erupt at two locations: On the east rift zone, a fissure eruption that started Saturday afternoon continued intermittently at locations approximately 2-3.5 km WSW of Pu`u `O`o. Pu`u `O`o Crater and the TEB/Nov. 29 flows were inactive this morning. At the summit, the lava lake level remained deep below the rim of the vent inset within the east wall of Halema`uma`u Crater. Summit and east rift zone seismicity remained significantly elevated.

 

Past 24 hours at Kilauea summit: The lava level remained very deep within the vent inset within the east wall of Halema`uma`u Crater. The summit tiltmeter network recorded slowing deflation. Seismic tremor levels remained significantly elevated.

Eighteen earthquakes were strong enough to be located within Kilauea volcano – 10 were clustered in the east rift zone near the fissure eruption, five were beneath the summit area, and three were on south flank faults.

The summit gas plume is moving to the southwest this morning. The most recent (preliminary) sulfur dioxide emission rate measurement was 600 tonnes/day on March 6, 2011.

Past 24 hours at the middle east rift zone vents: The fissure eruption that started Saturday afternoon continued through this morning with vigorous spattering from the west end of the fissure which is just east of Napau Crater and about 2-3.5 km WSW of Pu`u `O`o. The most recent (preliminary) sulfur dioxide emission rate measurement was 7,000 tonnes/day on March 6, 2011 from all east rift zone sources.

The tiltmeter on the north flank of Pu`u `O`o recorded slowing deflation. Seismic tremor levels remain significantly elevated and variable in this part of the rift zone.

There was visible incandescence deep within a hornito over Fissure D (the TEB vent) but no other visible activity within the collapsed Pu`u `O`o Crater nor on the TEB/Nov. 29 flow field.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park message: In response to the current volcanic conditions, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has closed the Chain of Craters Road and all east rift zone and coastal trails, along with the Kulanaokuaiki campground, until further notice.

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