Numerous hazards are associated with active lava flows, and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have written about many of them in past Volcano Watch articles. However, it’s been awhile since one particular hazard —so-called “methane explosions” — has been addressed.
False rumors about the ongoing volcanic activity at the summit and lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano are causing unnecessary anxiety and confusion. We encourage everyone to check the source of any information you read or hear to be sure that it’s factual, accurate and timely.
Last week’s Volcano Watch focused on the East Rift Zone eruption, which continues to impact the lower Puna District. Changes in the eruptionare occurring daily, if not hourly, so by the time you read this article, the situation likely will have changed.
Three deposits from explosive eruptions at the summit of Mauna Loa are located west, northwest and east of Moku‘aweoweo, the volcano’s summit caldera. In map view, these deposits are fan-shaped. Along the ‘Ainapo Trail, 2.8 to 3.5 km (1.7 to 2.2 mi) southeast of the caldera, several kipuka expose a fourth distinct explosive deposit.
Already reeling from a destructive earthquake and deadly tsunami and mud flow on April 2, 1868, Ka‘u residentshoped for a reprieve, but it was slow to come.
This week marks 150 years since the largest earthquake to strike Hawaii in the past two centuries. Estimated to have been at least magnitude 7.9, this earthquake struck April 2, 1868, near Pahala in the Ka‘u District.
A little more than 10 years ago, conditions around Kilauea Volcano’s summit were much different than today. The caldera floor was open to the public, and the air above it was normally clear. Halema‘uma‘u was an impressive sight, but peacefully in repose. That quiet phase at Kilauea’s summit ended abruptly in 2008, ushering in a new era of lava lake activity that continues today.
To set the stage for next week’s Volcano Watch about the upcoming anniversary of Kilauea Volcano’s current summit eruption, this week we revisit the history of past Halemaʻumaʻu eruptions. We do so by reprising parts of a Volcano Watch article written in December 2008, soon after the ongoing Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake reached a milestone as Kilauea’s longest summit eruption since 1924.
Today’s Volcano Watch begins with a question: Can you guess when the next slow slip event will happen on Kilauea Volcano’s South Flank? As a hint, the last one was in October 2015, and before then, events occurred in May 2012, February 2010 and June 2007. If this seems like a pattern, you’re right.
In recent weeks, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory joined forces with several other agencies to talk about Mauna Loa at community events and other public meetings. Unfortunately, some information presented at these gatherings has been misinterpreted.