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HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey

Thursday, September 1, 2016, 8:54 AM HST

KILAUEA VOLCANO
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The 61g lava flow fed from the East Rift Zone continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. At the top of the 61g flow, surface breakouts of lava have been noted since Monday and continue. The flow poses no threat to nearby communities. The summit lava lake continues to circulate and spatter, with its surface measured at 39m (130 ft) below the crater rim this morning.

Summit Observations: The lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remains active and continues to circulate and spatter. Deflationary tilt measured at Kīlauea’s summit reversed early this morning, and tiltmeters have since been registering a gradual inflationary tilt. The depth to the lava lake surface was measured at 39m (130ft) below the adjacent floor of Halemaumau crater. No significant changes in seismicity are noted through the past day. Volcanic tremor amplitudes continue to fluctuate in association with lava lake spattering and circulation. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates ranged from 3,300 to 5,300 metric tons/day over the past week. GPS and InSAR data continue to show long-term inflation of the summit magma reservoir complex, ongoing since 2010.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcams show persistent glow continuing at long-established sources within the crater. No significant changes in seismicity are noted through the past day. Inflationary tilt registered yesterday at Puʻu ʻŌʻō reversed last evening and deflationary tilt now continues, possibly related to pulses in lava extrusion from surface breakouts southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 270 metric tons/day when last measured on August 25.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61g lava flow, extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea's south flank, continues to carry lava to the ocean near Kamokuna. Lava has been entering the ocean along a front spanning roughly 1 km (0.6 mi) of coastline along which the flows have been building a lava bench. Webcam views looking to the east from Puʻu ʻŌʻō show continued surface lava breakouts and pulses in lava extrusion in the area at the top of the 61g flow.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry 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. Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.
This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field at the coast. The area of the active flow field as of August 2 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 12 is shown in red. The base is a Digital Globe image from January 2016
Video from July of flow moving toward ocean
The Lava has reached the ocean for the first time in 3-1/2 years