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HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE

Monday, March 6, 2017, 9:37 AM HST

KILAUEA VOLCANO
19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and at the
Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on its East Rift Zone. The episode 61g lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō is
entering the ocean at Kamokuna and is feeding surface flows on and above the
pali, and on the coastal plain, inland from the ocean entry. These lava flows
pose no threat to nearby communities at this time. The summit is deflating, and
the lava lake was 16 m (~52 ft) below the Overlook crater rim this morning.
Small earthquakes continue in the upper East Rift Zone.

Summit Observations: Tiltmeters at Kīlauea's summit recorded the onset of
deflationary tilt at 3 am today. The lava lake dropped slightly and was 16 m (~52
ft) below the Overlook crater rim this morning. Webcam views of the lava lake
can be found at this webpage: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/cams/region_kism.php.
Summit tremor continues to fluctuate in response to variations in lava lake
spattering. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates were about 3,000
metric tons/day over the past week when conditions permitted measurements.
Following the flurry of earthquakes in the upper East Rift Zone yesterday
morning, seismicity has remained elevated in that area with dozens of small
earthquakes over the past day.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcam images over the past 24 hours show
persistent glow at long-term sources at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, including the pit on the west
side of the crater that holds a small lava pond. There were no significant
changes in East Rift Zone seismicity over the past 24 hours. The tiltmeter at
Puʻu ʻŌʻō was influenced by rain over the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission
rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 250 metric tons/day when last
measured on February 22, 2017.

Lava Flow Observations: The episode 61g flow is still active and entering the
ocean at Kamokuna. Webcam views indicate continued small breakouts on the
coastal plain. Other 61g surface flows were active on the pali farther inland.
Webcam views show a new breakout on the upper 61g flow field that began
yesterday around dusk; the breakout was still relatively small this morning.
None of these flows pose a threat to nearby communities at this time.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the ocean entry (where lava meets the
sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven
surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to
an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris created by the
explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the new land created is
unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This
loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to
become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such
collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. This
occurred most recently on December 31. Further collapses of the sea cliff have
been occurring since then, most recently on February 11. Additionally, the
interaction of lava with the ocean creates a corrosive seawater plume laden
with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes,
and lungs.
This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea's East Rift Zone lava flow
field. The area of the active flow field as of February 16 is shown in pink,
while widening and advancement of the active flow as of February 24 is
shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.
The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube (dashed where
uncertain).

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths
calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines
on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983
DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/).
Video from July 2016 of flow moving toward ocean
A steady stream of lava exiting the episode 61g lava tube pours into the
ocean at the Kamokuna ocean entry. The interaction between the lava and
ocean water causes explosive reactions, throwing bits of lava.
TIME-LAPSE sequence of lava lake activity at Halemaʻumaʻu