HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – The second explosive event to occur this week at the summit of Kilauea volcano was captured by webcams perched on the closed Halemaʻumaʻu Visitor Overlook.
At 6:58 a.m. Friday morning, a large slab of the summit vent wall directly below the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcam collapsed. “Rocks falling into the lava lake triggered a small explosive event that bombarded the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with spatter,” or fragments of molten lava, scientists say.
The event was similar to Monday’s event. The November 28 explosion was also triggered by a rockfall.
Scientists say these rockfalls and explosions, which occur without warning, are why this hazardous area remains closed. USGS adds that sulfur dioxide gas emissions from the vent are also extremely hazardous.
Over the past week, the USGS reports the average daily sulfur dioxide emission rate at the summit has ranged from 2,300 to 6,600 metric tons per day. Deflationary tilt is ongoing, and seismic activity continues at a low rate.