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Alert Level: WARNING, Color Code: ORANGE2018-05-06 22:53:53 UTC
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Sunday, May 6, 2018, 12:53 PM HST (Sunday, May 6, 2018, 22:53 UTC)
KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Summary: Active eruption of lava and gas continues along Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone within the Leilani Estates subdivision. Since late last evening, fissure eruptions have been continuous, and a lava flow has advanced northward about 0.9 km (0.6 miles). Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and the lava lake level continues to drop. There is no active lava in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō area. Aftershocks from Friday's magnitude-6.9 earthquake continue and more should be expected, with larger aftershocks potentially producing rockfalls and associated ash clouds above Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Halemaʻumaʻu crater. Seismicity at Kīlauea's summit remains elevated.
In the beginning I wrote that the watertable is 615 metres below the highest point of the caldera wall. But to really understand that reference we have to go back to 1924. That year another lava lake at Halema’uma’u Crater was sucked away before earthquakes started at Puna. Same thing, but reverse order of events.
As the lava level hit the 615 metres mark the water interacted explosively with the lava and phreatoplinian detonations followed. The largest detonation created a column that was 7000 meters high.
In the end the vent that held the lava lake was destroyed completely.
In this case it means that phreatic to phreatoplinian detonations will start somewhere between today Friday and Tuesday latest, unless the lava level starts to rise again. The most likely moment for onset is on Sunday at 10.14 CET.
Prior to that explosions caused by rockfall from the cooling vent walls are probable, these rockfalls are expected to continue during the phreatoplinian phase. The current Overlook Vent is likely to be completely destroyed during this phase.
If the lava continues to withdraw to greater depth, subsidence inside Halema’uma’u Crater will occur, or even subsidence of the general caldera. The subsidence will most likely not occur through blocking of the roof, instead it will be as piston driven subsidence.
If this happens lava flows are likely to increase anywhere from western Leilani up to, and including, Puna. There is also the potential for another large earthquake, depending on how much of the pressure that is alleviated by out-pouring of lava.