Huge new lava outbreak at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

Huge new lava outbreak at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

A huge new outbreak just above the pali to the south of the Kilauea's 61g flow is sending many lava streams downslope, Tropical Visions videographer Mick Kalber and the Paradise Helicopters crew reported after an overflight on March 2, 2017.

“Truly an amazing amount of activity,” Kalber said.

Video courtesy Big Island Now

Kilauea's current Aviation Color Code is at Orange, Volcano Alert Level is at Watch, HVO reported late March 7.

The episode 61g lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō is entering the ocean at Kamokuna and is feeding surface flows on and above the pali, and on the coastal plain, inland from the ocean entry, but these lava flows pose no threat to nearby communities at this time. The summit is deflating, and the lava lake was 33 m (~108 feet) below the Overlook crater rim on the morning of March 7 (local time).

Summit tremor continues to fluctuate in response to variations in lava lake spattering. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates were about 3 000 metric tons/day last week, the most recent time when conditions permitted measurements. After a brief increase, seismicity in the upper East Rift Zone has returned to typical levels over the past day, with just a few small earthquakes.

Strong caution to visitors viewing the ocean entry

HVO warns there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. This occurred most recently on December 31.

Further collapses of the sea cliff have been occurring since then, most recently on February 11. Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Featured image credit: Tropical Visions Video, Paradise Helicopters / BigIslandNow.com

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