(BIVN) – A small lava pond was visible deep within the fissure 8 cone in Leilani Estates this morning, according to a Saturday update from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The information came from the Hawaii County Fire Department, which conducted an overflight that included the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano, USGS said.
Aside from the oozing of lava observed along scattered ocean entries at the beginning of this week, the last notable activity at Fissure 8 was on August 20, when “gas jets” were seen “throwing spatter—fragments of glassy lava… from small incandescent areas deep within the cone.” At the time, the activity suggested to scientists that the lower East Rift Zone eruption “may be paused rather than pau (over).”
The next day, the “two small areas of incandescence, gas jetting, and spatter” appeared crusted over.
Aside from the small lava pond, seismicity and ground deformation are negligible at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. Sulfur dioxide emission rates are also drastically reduced, and “the combined rate is lower than at any time since late 2007,” the USGS said today.
Many residents wondered how passing Hurricane Lane would interact with the volcano, if at all. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote this today:
Tropical Storm Lane is moving to the west this morning away from the Island of Hawaiʻi. Flooding remains a problem. The hurricane has had little effect on the eruption aside from minor rockfalls at the summit and increased steaming from Puʻu ʻŌʻō and LERZ vents; however, HVO lost communication with several monitoring stations on the east side of the island in the last two days but the losses only slightly reduce our ability to assess volcanic conditions. Whiteout conditions could occur on the new lava field due due to steam produced by heavy rainfall on still-hot lava flows.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) will continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s seismicity, deformation, and gas emissions for any sign of reactivation, and maintain visual surveillance of the summit and LERZ as best we can. Ground crews are not working in the field today but remain on call should any changes in the volcano develop.
The next update will be issued tomorrow morning unless significant changes occur. The next USGS overflight is scheduled for Monday morning.