State of Emergency: Hawaii Under Siege From Kilauea Volcano and Earthquakes

BY JACKSON DILL | MAY 7, 2018 (UPDATED AT 1:30PM ON MAY 25)

For some residents on the Big Island of Hawaii, this is hell. Over 2000 people have been forced to evacuate. One of the biggest risks from the twenty-three fissures is the seeping of the toxic gas, sulfur dioxide. The concentration of this gas in some areas on the eastern side of the island are in the very high and dangerous range. This gas can seep into your lungs, which can cause breathing and other health problems. Below, we take you day-by-day of how this event all started and the current situation on the island.

Kilauea Volcano’s lava lake overflowing on Tuesday night, April 24th. The large overflow spread to the west from the lava lake and onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Occasional overflows of lava from the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake of Kilauea. According to USGS, “a spattering site (upper left) poured lava into a small overflow directed to the north. A passive overflow of the lava lake rim (bottom right) sent a more sluggish lava flow onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u.”

(Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Thermal image looking to the south of the active overflows onto the Halema‘uma‘u crater floor from the lava lake. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava Is Super Hot!

The overflow of the lava lake on Halema‘uma‘u crater floor on April 26th, producing a gas plume on the southeastern portion of the crater. Approximately two-thirds, or 90 acres, or the crater floor was covered in lava. According to USGS, “this is the largest overflow since the summit eruption began in 2008.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

A new crack was discovered on the side of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on May 1st. During its short period of time of activity, some lava and toxic gas and smoke seeped out. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The collapse of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor on April 30th produced a red ash over the active lava flow breakouts at the surface. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The lava lake level dropped during the final weekend of April, but by May 1st the level began to increase again as the summit became inflated. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

On May 3rd, a magnitude-5.0 earthquake south of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō led to a possible collapse of the East Rift Zone on Kilauea. This produced a short-lived plume of smoke and ash coming from the crater, causing falling ash in nearby areas downwind from the crater. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Following a small collapse due to the earthquake, crews captured this picture of a plume of a reddish-brown ash, littering the south side of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Overhead view of the 820 foot wide Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater, which recently encountered a significant collapse. The magma from beneath Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō drained. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Wide view of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone, showing the massive, 0.9 mile fissure on the western side. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava inundating areas of Leilani Estates in Hawaii. Mandatory evacuations were issued. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Cracking in the lower East Rift Zone allowed a while, hot vapor and blue fume to seep from the cracks in the eastern part of the subdivision. Lava and splatter then began to follow. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Captured at 12:46 p.m. HST on May 4th, this was the scene following a magnitude-6.9 earthquake near Kilauea. This was the most powerful earthquake to strike this area since the 7.1-magnitude quake in 1975. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

View of fissure 7 from the intersection of Leilani and Makamae Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision, taken on May 5th. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Number of Earthquakes Affecting the Big Island of Hawaii

The Big Island of Hawaii has been plagued but hundreds of earthquakes over the course of a few days. On some days, over 400 earthquakes have shaken the island, including a magnitude-6.9 earthquake on May 4th. Not much damage was reported from this earthquake, but it struck the same area near Mount Kilauea as the magnitude-7.1 earthquake in 1975.

Lava about two yards thick flowing down Leilani and Kaupiili Streets from fissure 3. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Smoke emerging from fissure 5, which is known as a crack or opening in the earth. A small part crossed Leilani Street. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

On May 5th, USGS reported that “lava from fissure 7 slowly advanced to the northeast on Hookapu Street in Leilani Estates subdivision on Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

A new fissure by fissures 2 and 7 erupted Saturday evening, May 5th. Originally, small lava splatted from the crack, but the situation escalated rather quickly, turning into lava fountains as high as 230 feet. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava flooding into the Leilani Estates subdivision from one of the fissures. (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

This map overlays a mosaic of thermal images overplayed with a satellite image collected during a helicopter overflight of the fissures in Leilani Estates from May 5th. Temperature is displayed by the gray-scale shading with the brightest shading signifying the hottest spots of the lava. There were at least seven fissures at the time when this image was captured. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Large area of lava flow from fissure seven into this neighborhood in Leilani Estates. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

USGS scientists monitoring the eruption encounter past spatter from the lava that was erupted from fissure five and six on Leilani Avenue. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The lava level in Kilauea Volcano dropped 220 meters below the crater rim due to its exit from the vents and fissures near its base. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

View of the Kilauea Volcano from the Suomi NPP satellite. The bright red spot in this thermal satellite imagery shows the site of the eruption and lava flows near Leilani Estates on the eastern side of Hawaii’s Big Island. (Credit: NOAA Satellites)

Officials released an update on the situation, as of Monday, stating that at least 35 homes have been destroyed. Leilani Estates residents will be allowed to check on their property from 7am to 6pm each day until further notice, unless conditions reduce the safety of returning home. Also, Highway 130 is closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road. The water supply has been affected due to the earthquakes and the eruption as well. The Department of Water Supply is working to establish a temporary bypass waterline to restore water service to the areas of Pohoiki, Vacationland, and Kapoho. Here are other key points from the County of Hawai’i’s update: No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens due to dangerous volcanic gases This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area. Department of Education announced Pāhoa High, Intermediate and Elementary schools will be open today.  Kua O Ka Lā, Hawai‘i Academy of Arts and Sciences, Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu’u and Ke Ana La’ahana are closed today.

Steam emerges from fissure nine at Moku Street in the Leilani Estates Subdivision. Rumbling noises have also been reported in the area. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Shortly after fissure eleven became inactive, fissure twelve formed on May 7th. This newest fissure is in the forest south of Malama Street in Leilani Estates. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center provided this time lapse of each earthquake report since April 30th when they began affecting the Big Island. They provide this description of how unusual the recent seismic activity is: “Small earthquakes generated by volcanic activity are far more common, and typically have a magnitude less than; 3.0 and occur a few times a day. That changed on the afternoon of April 30. 2018, when an earthquake “swarm” began such that earthquakes started to occur far more frequently, up to 10 per hour. As this animation shows, a swarm of volcanic earthquakes began northwest of the summit of Kilauea Volcano on its East Rift Zone, a feature extending from Kilauea’s summit that carries magma underground through the flank of the volcano. Eruptions can occur anywhere along this rift zone as well as at the summit. The occurrence of these earthquakes then moved along the rift zone away from the summit, suggesting the movement of magma below ground in this direction. Magma reached the surface and erupted as lava on the afternoon of May 3 and is ongoing (6 May 2018). Since the eruption began the frequency of volcanic earthquakes has dropped to about 1 per hour. However, tectonic earthquakes that result from motion on faults became more common since the eruption, many larger than magnitude 4.0 with the largest having a magnitude of 6.9 on the afternoon of May 4.”

Two New Fissures Develop, Leading to Mandatory Evacuations on Tuesday for Lanipuna, Hawaii

Geologists examining existing ground cracks on and near Highway 130.  One of those cracks widened by 1.6 inches in just 24 hours. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Fissure 13 opening up across Leilani Street on Tuesday, May 8th. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

View from the ground of fissure 13, which opening up on Tuesday, May 8th. This fissure allowed for the emergence of splattering lava and the toxic gas, sulfuric dioxide, from Kilauea Volcano. (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

A rockfall into the summit of Kīlauea Volcano on Wednesday made for this brief eruption of ash and smoke. Geologists are concerned that this may foreshadow what may come in the coming weeks later this Monday as the lava lake levels continue to fall. If the lava level reaches the water table, then that may trigger a significant explosion of the volcano for the Big Island of Hawaii. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Severe ground cracks seen on Wednesday, May 9th associated with fissure 14 in Leilani Estates. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Yellow street lines show the offset of cracks on Leilani Street, Leilani Estates. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

A geologist measures the temperature of the mushy, steaming road to be 218 degrees. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Aerial view from the Hawaii County Fire Department of fissure 15. The fissure cut across Pohoiki Road. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Aerial views of the current situation on the Big Island of Hawaii, captured on May 9th. (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

On Wednesday, the United States Geological Survey, or USGS, released a dire warning to residents on the Big Island of Hawaii. This warning states that “the steady lowering of the lava lake in “Overlook crater” within Halemaʻumaʻu at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano has raised the potential for explosive eruptions in the coming weeks.” The organization then states, “If the lava column drops to the level of groundwater beneath Kīlauea Caldera, influx of water into the conduit could cause steam-driven explosions.” The key point is that it is uncertain whether explosive activity will occur, how large the explosions could be, and how long the possible explosive activity could continue. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Governor of Hawaii Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration

The cracking in the earth continues to occur despite the break in lava flows. According to USGS, the cracks have “widened considerably in the past day on Old Kalapana Road. In other areas, new cracks have appeared along sections of Highway 130 in the past day, some with fume escaping.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Steam and toxic gas emerges from the cracks on Hawai’i on May 10th. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Geologist photographs a steaming crack about 164 feet west of Highway 130 in an area of earlier cracking. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Another weak ash plume rose from the Overlook Vent in Halema‘uma‘u crater on May 11th. This plume was probably caused by a rockfall into the deepening vent, but is not related to groundwater and steam-driven explosions. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Saturday, May 12th:

Two new fissures emerged on Saturday. This aerial view shows a steaming fissure 16 in the distance while fissure 17 pours lava out from the earth. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava lakes levels in the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater continue to fall to up to 1150 feet below the crater’s rim. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Fissures 15 (top) and 16 (botton) seen from above, spewing toxic gas and lava about 500 meters northeast of the Puna Geothermal Venture site. (Credit: Hawai`i County Fire Department)

Lava slowly advancing from fissure 16. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Sunday, May 13th:

View of fissure 17 looking southward from Highway 132, spilling a large area of lava into a wooded area. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

According to Paradise Helicopters, “The seventeenth fissure of the current eruption opened up around 3am Sunday, May 13, 2018 about several hundred yards from the sixteenth fissure. This fissure is characterized by huge explosions, throwing lava hundreds of feet in the air and area surrounding the fissure. The lava is now about a mile east of the site of the first fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision on Mohala Street, and apparently heading toward Kapoho on the eastern end of the island. There is no active surface lava in Leilani, although many cracks continue to steam and smoke from cracks and fissures in the subdivision.” (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

Lava splatters to heights of up to 500 feet a few miles south of Pahoa, Hawaii from fissure 18. (Credit: WXChasing/Twitter)

Views from above of one of the new fissures that developed on Sunday. Estimates suggest this fissure is about 1000 feet long as it spatters lava from below the earth’s surface. (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

This view from Space, captured on Sunday, highlights the smoke that continues to emerge from the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater of Kilauea Volcano. There are now a total of 18 fissures in the island of Hawai’i, one of which jetting lava bombs up to 500 feet above the ground. (Credit: A.J. (Drew) Feustel/Twitter)

Monday, May 14th

Fissure 17 was producing several steam jets, where earlier it hurled lava bombs up to 500 feet into the air. According to the County of Hawaii, “Hawaii Fire Department reports that fissures in the southeast area of Lanipuna Gardens area are issuing high levels of Sulfur Dioxide gas at this time. Residents in the area and surrounding farm lots on Pohoiki Road near Lanipuna Gardens are advised the air quality is condition remains RED. Condition RED means immediate danger to health so take action to limit further exposure. Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe. This is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The expanding landscape destroyed by the lava flows on the island of Hawai’i. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Tuesday, May 15th

Two new fissures emerged on Tuesday while fissure 6 near Leilani Avenue and Pohoiki Road became active again, splattering and fountaining lava. All other fissures continue to spew some gas but there have not been any advancements in the lava flows. The concentration of sulfur dioxide on the eastern side of the Big Island continues to increase, making breathing dangerous without the proper mask. According to the Hawaii Fire Department, “air quality is still condition RED around fissures in the southeast area of Lanipuna Gardens and surrounding farm lots on Pohoiki Road. Condition RED means immediate danger to health so take action to limit further exposure. Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) gas from fissures are especially dangerous for elderly, children/babies and people with respiratory problems.” USGS also upgraded their warning on Kilauea to ‘RED/WARNING,’ which means that a “major volcanic explosion is imminent, underway, or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air.”

According to USGS, “Activity at Halema‘uma‘u crater increased this morning to include the nearly continuous emission of ash with intermittent stronger pulses that form occasional higher plumes 1-2 kilometers (3,000 to 6,000 feet) above the ground. This photo shows the ash plume at about 9 a.m. HST. Tradewinds this morning are blowing the ash generally to the southwest toward the Ka`u Desert. The dark area to the right of the ash column rising from the Overlook crater is ash falling from the ash cloud to the ground.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

A patrol flight reports the smoke plume tops at about 9,500 ft with the dispersed plume rising as high as 11,000 ft. Some of the ash from this plume was reported to have fallen into some neighborhoods downwind of its origin from the crater. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island. (Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 16th

Ash emission from the Overlook crater within Halema`uma`u has generally decreased since yesterday, but ash falls into neighborhoods downwind of the origin are possible and residents are urged to remain inside due to this. Several magnitude 3 or stronger earthquakes struck beneath the summit on Wednesday. These earthquakes were shallow but still resulted in cracks in Highway 11 near the entrance to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The explosive eruption of 1924 at the Kilauea summit was also marked by hundreds of felt earthquakes as magma drained from the caldera.

Splattering lava between fissures 16 and 20. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Splattering from the fissures in the areas between fissures 16 and 20 came to an end just a few hours layers, but geologists found new rock formation due to the lava. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Large sulfur dioxide plumes rising from the various fissures up to the cloud deck. There is a code red in effect for planes, prohibiting pilots from flying near the area due to the smoke, gas, and ash. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

This two foot rock was hurled from the Overlook crater and ended up to the south at the Halema‘uma‘u parking lot, breaking it apart at impact. The rest of the parking lot was covered in ash. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Thursday, May 17th

The United States Geological Survey confirmed just after sunrise in Hawaii Thursday morning that an explosive eruption has occurred in Hawaii. Here’s the official statement: “Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that an Explosive Eruption at Kilauea’s Summit has occurred. The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area. The wind will carry the plume toward the southeast. You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves.”

View from a webcam of the explosive eruption of Kilauea Volcano. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

According to USGS, “At about 04:15 a.m. HST, an explosion from the Overlook crater at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit produced an eruption column that reached at least 30,000 ft. above sea level. The plume was blown by wind toward the northeast. This resulted in ash fall at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and nearby Volcano Village and the Volcano Golf and Country Club Subdivsion.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Toxic gas seeps through the widening cracks through this road associated with one of the fissures. These cracks were caused by the underlying intrusion of magma into the lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

A geologists examines the cracks on Nohea Street in Leilani Estates, which have significantly expanded since the previous day. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava flow from fissure 17, which was more active on Thursday than the previous day. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Aerial view of smoke and lava emerging from a new fissure, number 21, located between fissures 3 and 7 in Leilani Estates. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Friday, May 18th

The situation in Hawaii continues to worsen. A second explosive eruption occurred Friday night at about midnight local time, sending ash up to 10,000 feet into the sky. 22 fissures have been reported now, and there are several active ones spewing lava while the remaining others continue to seep the toxic gas. One of these fissure’s spewing lava even prompted the evacuation by helicopter of four people. The U.S. Geological Survey is warning about “additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time” and that “volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.” Seismologists are warning the people on the Big Island of Hawaii about an uptick of earthquake activity.

The USGS provides this in-depth summary about these satellite images looking down at Kilauea: “These radar amplitude images were acquired by the Italian Space Agency’s Cosmo-SkyMed satellite system and show changes to the caldera area of Kīlauea Volcano that occurred between May 5 at 6:12 a.m. HST (left) and May 17 at 6:12 a.m. HST (right). The satellite transmits a radar signal at the surface and measures the strength of the reflection, with bright areas indicating a strong reflection and dark areas a weak reflection. Strong reflections indicate rough surfaces or slopes that point back at the radar, while weak reflections come from smooth surfaces or slopes angled away from the radar. The May 17 image was acquired after two small explosions from the summit eruptive vent. Major changes with respect to the May 5 image include: (1) a darkening of the terrain south of Halema‘uma‘u, which may reflect accumulation of ash over the 12-day period between the images; (2) enlargement of the summit eruptive vent on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u, from about 12 acres on May 5 to about 34 acres on May 17; and (3) the development of a small depression (area of about 15 acres) on the east rim of Halema‘uma‘u that reflects slumping of a portion of the rim towards the growing collapse pit on the crater floor.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

This aerial view over the active fissure system looking south toward the ocean highlights three active fissures associated with the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano: “Fissure 17 is the on the left-hand side of photo; fissure 18 is in the middle; and fissure 20 are the two low fountaining areas in the middle right of photo.” (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

The line of lava fountains from fissure 17 congealed into one larger fountain, spewing lava up to 164 feet into the air. In some instances, the lava even shot up to 328 feet up. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava flow from one of the active fissures moving over Pohoiki Road. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Kilauea Volcano lava flow activity in Lower Puna, Hawaii Friday night. (Credit: Honolulu Civil Beat)

Saturday, May 19th

There are now a total of twenty-two fissures, several of which are active, from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island. Fissure 20 was reported to have been spewing lava, lava which was moving as fast as 1000 feet per hour in the morning. These lava flows have destroyed four homes, which brings the count to at least 40 building destroyed since Kilauea first began erupting earlier this month. Residents between Kamaili and Pohoiki are now being advised to decide if they want to voluntarily leave the area due to the active fissures. Officials are now warning about the threat of laze, which is when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.  Another continuous risk are the high sulfur dioxide levels. According to experts at USGS and UH Manoa, they say the island is experiencing about 5.25 times as much sulfur dioxide being released now than before the recent active eruptions and new fissures started. Thus why there’s a lot more vog now.

Lava fountains from Fissure 20 in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

These channelized lava flows have originated from a merged and elongated fountaining source between fissures 16 and 20 in Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

These channelized lava flows have originated from a merged and elongated fountaining source between fissures 16 and 20 in Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Kilauea Volcano lava flow activity nearing the ocean in Puna, Hawaii on Saturday. (Credit: Paradise Helicopters)

Aerial views of the lava flows approaching the ocean. Officials are now warning about the threat of laze, which is when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Sunday, May 20th

The first injury has occurred due to the lava from Kilauea, which shattered a man’s leg when he made contact with the lava. Meanwhile, officials are saying sulfur dioxide levels have tripled, making the air quality even more dangerous. People are urged to stay inside to limit exposure. There have also been two different lava flows that have entered the ocean. This is a concern due to the creation of laze. The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring the coastal waters in the area to keep boats away from this spectacle danger.

Lava entering the ocean from two separate flows. The clouds of white produced is laze. The process leads to a series of chemical reactions that result in the formation of the billowing white cloud composed of a mixture of condensed seawater steam, hydrochloric acid gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Large expanse of lava from the eastern channel of fissure 20. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Monday, May 21st

One of the lava flows continues to pour into the ocean, creating large amounts of laze. This happens as officials work to secure the geothermal plants on the island, one of which is beginning to be compromised by the lava flows the the very active, fissure 22. Late-afternoon on Monday, a third explosive eruption of Kilauea also occurred.

Expansive lava flows of fissure 22. (Credit: Volcano Helicopters)

Wind blowing laze along the shoreline as lava continues to pour into the ocean. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Fountaining lava from fissure 22 in Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Aerial perspective of laze forming when lava meets the ocean. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Tuesday, May 22nd

Lava continues to fountain out of several fissures as one lava flow entered the ocean. The U.S. Geological Survey provides this update: “Over the course of the day, the most active eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone shifted to the middle portion of the system of fissures. The most active fissures were 22,19, 6, 5, and 23. Fissure 17, at the northeastern end of the fissure system is only weakly active now. Fissure 6 is feeding a flow to the south, roughly parallel to the western flow from fissure 22. Fountaining of fissures 5 and 23 fed flows in the eastern part of Leilani Estates. “

The most active fissure, number 22, has been fountaining lava of up to 160 feet into the air for over a day now in Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone. (Credit: U.S Geological Survey)

Volcanic flows in the lower East Rift Zone. Two of the fissures (not pictured) are sending lava down two channels that merge near the coast and into the ocean. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Meandering lava flow ending up in the ocean, producing laze. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Wednesday, May 23rd

Frequent ash plumes continue to emerge from small eruptions of Kilauea Volcano’s summit. Some of these plumes have reached heights of up to 8000 feet. Meanwhile, down toward the ocean, lava continues to flow in due to the active lower East Rift Zone.

A pulse of ash rises from the Halema‘uma‘u crater as part of semi-continuous emissions at Kīlauea’s summit. (Credit: U.S Geological Survey)

Fissure 6 builds a lava berm across Pohoiki Road. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Lava continuing to flow into the ocean. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)

Thursday, May 24th

The nightmare in Hawaii continues for some as a small part of the Big Island continue to deal with high concentrations of the toxic sulfur dioxide as well as persistent lava flows. Several fissures remain active with spewing lava.

L:ava fountains continue to emerge from fissure 22, although the heights of these fountains are not as tall as they have been the past several days. (Credit: U.S Geological Survey)

Multiple lava flows moving over old flows that are now new rock as they head toward the ocean to produce laze. (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey)