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HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey

Friday, August 12, 2016, 9:35 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 continues to flow into the sea at Kamokuna and produce scattered breakouts on the coastal plain and pali. The flow poses no threat to nearby communities. The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater continues to be active;its surface is 33.5 m (110 ft) below the crater rim..

Summit Observations: The lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remains active; its surface rose slightly to 33.5 m (110 ft) below the crater rim as measured this morning. An explosion late Saturday night, triggered by a rockfall, sent a voluminous and dangerous shower of hot spatter and rock debris onto the southeast rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. This explosion produced a continuous carpet of volcanic material covering a broad swath 80 m (260 ft) long and 50 m (165 ft) wide around the former Halemaʻumaʻu overlook, an area that has been closed to public access since 2008 due to ongoing hazards. Additional explosions from further rockfalls remain possible and can occur at any time with no warning. Photos of this deposit can be seen here: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/multimedia/

Inflationary tilt of a summit DI event continued. Seismicity rates were normal, with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering; two earthquakes stronger than magnitude-2.0 were located in the Southwest Rift Zone. The average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 400 to 7,500 metric tons/day over the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: No significant changes are visible on webcam images, with persistent glow continuing at long-term sources within the crater. Seismicity and tilt records also showed no significant changes in the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 metric tons/day when measured on August 10.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61G lava flow, extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea's south flank, continued to be active and to enter the sea at multiple places near Kamokuna (labeled 'ocean entry' on HVO maps). Scattered breakouts continue predominantly on the makai (seaward) portion of the coastal plain and on the pali. A small delta collapse occurred Tuesday afternoon which darkened the plume for a short time.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry (location where lava meets the sea) for Flow 61G, 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. The area of the active flow field as of July 26 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as mapped on August 2 is shown in red. Lava reached the ocean on the morning of July 26. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth's surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).
Video from July 10, 2016
The Lava has reached the ocean for the first time in 3-1/2 years