(BIVN) – Scientists are keeping on top of the multitude of fissures along the erupting lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists Wendy Stovall described the different fissures – some spattering, some fountaining, some producing lava flows – during a Wednesday conference call with media.
At 10:46 p.m. on Wednesday night, USGS posted this update:
Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone
Eruption of lava and ground cracking continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.
The middle portion of the fissure system continues to produce the most robust eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone. The fountains from Fissure 22 feed a single lava channel that reaches the coast just north of MacKenzie State Park. The actual point of entry has continued shifting to the west. Fountains erupted from Fissures 5, 6, 13, and 19 continued to feed a lava flow advancing to the south along the west side of Fissure 22 flows that reached the ocean late this afternoon.There are now two ocean entry points that produce occasional small explosions.
Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions.
For recent maps of activity, see here.
Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings.
Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days. Only a few earthquakes located yesterday in the rift zone.
USGS/HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense. Geologists are onsite to track fissure activity and the advance of lava flows.
Kīlauea Volcano Summit
Small ash emissions from the Overlook crater have occurred frequently through the day. Moderate trade winds were blowing to the southwest today and ashfall may be noticed in downwind locations. A small explosion from overlook crater at 06:44 pm produced an ash cloud that reached 7000 feet above sea level as determined by the National Weather Service radar. The cloud did not contain much ash and dispersed quickly.
Earthquakes in the summit area continue at a moderate rate, as does deflation of the summit region. At 05:12 this evening the summit area was shaken by a shallow M3.5 earthquake approximately 0.7 miles below the caldera floor that was felt by people in the area. Many smaller earthquakes followed for the next 1.5 hours. The sequence of earthquakes stopped when an ash explosion occurred at 06:44 pm. The earthquakes and ash explosions are occurring as the summit area subsides and adjusts to the withdrawal of magma from the summit.
Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.