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Far End of Lava Flow Reactivates, Lava Spills Out of Steaming Crack

August 30, 2014

The steaming ground crack observed yesterday suggested that lava was close to the surface within the crack, and today lava in the crack reached the surface and began spilling out into the thick forest. The leading edge of the lava today was near the abandoned well site (cleared area at left). This farthest lava was about 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on horizon) and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. (USGS)

The following photos were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS) (Dated August 29, 2014) . Note: these photos were not taken in areas currently accessible to the public. (You can visit the official website of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for current information on the areas of Kilauea that are open to public).

A closer view of the pad of lava that emerged from the ground crack earlier this week, which had renewed surface flows today. At the east end (upper left in photograph) of the lava pad new breakouts spilled into adjacent ground cracks, and lava was visible within the ground crack extending farther to the east (visible by line of smoke extending towards upper left portion of photo). Heiheiahulu is visible in the upper right. (USGS)

At the site of the isolated pad of lava near the leading edge of the June 27th flow, renewed surface flows today resurfaced the existing lava flow and also spilled into nearby ground cracks. In this photograph, two large streams of lava plunge into a crack that is a couple meters (yards) wide. (USGS)

At the far end of the lava-filled crack, lava spilled out towards the north a very short distance. In this view from a thermal camera, the small lobe of lava moving north is easily visible. The trees surrounding the crack show brighter colors as they are heated by the lava flow, but not to the point of combustion. (USGS)

The vent for the June 27th lava flow is on the upper northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The vent area is now covered by lava, but the lava tube that carries lava to the flow front is easily visible by the line of blue-colored fume. In the lower right, two skylights can be seen. (USGS)

Map showing the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of August 28, 2014. The area of the flow as mapped on August 27 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of August 28 is shown in red. All older lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray. The thin yellow line marks a portion of the lava tube feeding the flow. The only place where lava significantly widened the margin was at the most distant surface breakout, which was 8.6 km (5.3 miles) from the vent. The brown line at the far end of the flow marks the ground crack that channeled lava to the east, where it later emerged to form a new pad of lava. Yesterday, there was no surface activity there and no indication that lava was continuing to advance within ground cracks. This morning, however, steam was rising above a crack extending east beyond the end of the lava pad, suggesting that lava was once again advancing within a crack below ground. The most distant steaming area was 11.9 km (7.4 miles) from the vent and 2.6 km (1.6 miles) from east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. (USGS)

Celebrating Labor Day!

August 30, 2014

June 27th Lava Flow Activity Continues, So Stay Informed!

August 29, 2014

This photograph (left) and thermal image (right) of the June 27th lava flow were taken at the same time on August 28, 2014. Distant plumes of blue smoke mark the farthest active surface lava, which is also shown as small hot spots in the thermal image. The bright yellow patch in the center of the thermal image shows the pad of still-hot, but inactive, lava that emerged from a ground crack earlier this week. East of this lava pad, new steaming (shown by arrows) suggests that lava is continuing to advance below the surface along a ground crack. Direct views into the crack were not possible due to thick vegetation, but thermal images of the steaming areas revealed temperatures up to 190 degrees Celsius (370 degrees Fahrenheit), further evidence of lava moving through the crack. The most recent map of the June 27th flow is posted at (USGS)

The following is this week’s edition of “Volcano Watch” from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:

(Click here to see photos released by USGS after this article was written)

In response to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s (HVO’s) Aug. 22, 2014, news release that Kīlauea’s June 27th lava flow could become a concern for communities downhill of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency (HCCDA) quickly organized a series of informational meetings.To date, four meetings have been held at the Pāhoa Community Center to raise public awareness of the lava flow and to let potentially affected residents know how to stay informed about the flow’s progress. HCCDA also addressed the possible emergency-response measures that are being considered should the flow continue its northeastward advance.

Slow-moving pāhoehoe advances through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The pāhoehoe lobes surround, and burn through, the base of the trees. By the time the trees topple over, the lava surface temperature has cooled sufficiently that the downed trees do not completely burn through, leaving a field of tree trunks on the recent lava surface. One tree in the center of the photograph is completely surrounded by active lava, and likely on the brink of toppling over. (USGS)

During these meetings, HVO’s Scientist-in-Charge, Jim Kauahikaua, and HCCDA’s Director, Darryl Oliveira, provided brief presentations about the lava flow activity and emergency planning efforts, respectively, before answering dozens of questions from attendees. When and where the lava flow might reach specific communities, roads, and infrastructure were topmost among residents’ concerns, but are the most difficult questions to answer at this time.

While it’s true that lava flows travel downhill, their movement is more complex than might be expected. There are several critical factors that affect where lava actually flows and how quickly it advances.

For the June 27th lava flow, these include: (1) how much and how consistently lava is erupted from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent; (2) whether or not lava breaks out of the tube and creates new surface flows (and tubes) that “steal” lava from the current flow front; and (3) the topography (shape and features) of the ground over which the lava is flowing, including slope steepness and direction, depressions, ground cracks, fault cliffs, craters, and cones.

During the past week, the most active part of the June 27th lava flow moved into extremely irregular topography with lots of cracks and depressions, which makes it futile—at this time—to forecast exactly which areas might be impacted.

Vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, one of several skylights provides a view of the flowing lava stream within the lava tube. This lava tube supplies lava from the vent to the active surface flows near the flow front. (USGS)

The June 27th flow, named for when it began, is erupting from a vent located on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The lava remained close to the vent for two weeks, but on July 10, the flow began to advance to the northeast, with an average speed of about 250 meters per day (820 ft/day), but as fast as about 500 meters per day (1,600 ft/day). These relatively rapid advance rates were likely due to two factors: a steady lava supply and confinement of the flow to a narrow low area between older lava flows.

This low area funneled the flow into a section of Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone that is marked by dozens of deep, discontinuous ground cracks and linear depressions that are hundreds to thousands of meters (yards) long. In mid-August, the lava flow disappeared into one of these cracks, creating uncertainty about if, when, and where it would reappear at the surface.

Over the following days, a line of rising steam along the crack suggested that lava was continuing to advance. On August 24, the flow resurfaced about 1.3 km (0.8 mile) farther down the rift zone, where, after forming a small pad of visible lava, the flow again cascaded into another crack and disappeared from view. As of August 29, a new line of steam progressing farther east along the crack indicated that lava continues to advance.

The irregular topography of the rift zone has kept the lava flow moving toward the northeast. But, as long as the lava continues to travel out of view within ground cracks, forecasting a precise flow path will remain difficult.

At the time of this writing (August 29), the June 27th lava flow did not pose an immediate threat to any residential area. However, HVO and HCCDA continue to closely track the flow with daily overflights of the area, which will continue as long as warranted.

We encourage you to stay informed about the flow. Daily eruption updates are posted on the HVO website ( every morning, and maps and photographs of the flow are added after each HVO overflight.


98 Years of Service

August 25, 2014

Established in 1916, the National Park Service was created to care for all of the national parks throughout the United States and territories. Each park represents an important part of our collective identity. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn. The National Park of American Samoa preserves and protects tropical rainforests, fruit bats, coral reefs, and the Samoan culture.

“SHARE” with us how you plan to celebrate! Tag your stories, photos, and/or videos on our Facebook page.


Park Seeks Student Artists for Nēnē Awareness Day Logo Contest

August 24, 2014

Nēnē family

Nēnē family

In celebration of Nēnē Awareness Day (September 26) Haleakalā National Park is seeking student artists in grades 6, 7, and 8 for a Nēnē Awareness Day Logo Contest. The contest begins on August 25, which is the 98th birthday of the National Park Service, and runs through September 18.

Students must draw or paint a logo about nēnē on one 8.5 x11 sized paper and include a short slogan about one of the following ideas: 1. Why nēnē are special or 2. What people can do to protect nēnē. The park will accept one entry per student.

Three winners will be chosen. Each will receive a prize of their choice from books and games donated by the Hawai’i Pacific Parks Association, a non-profit partner of the park. The three winners’ families will each receive a park annual pass ($25). All entries and students’ names will be on display in the park’s Headquarters Visitor Center from September 26-28, 2014 and at the National Park Service booth at the Maui County Fair.

Students may use crayon, marker, watercolor, ink, acrylic or tempera. Collages or computer generated art will not be accepted. All entries must include the student’s name, school, teacher, grade, and a phone number or email contact for the student’s parents or guardians. All information must be legible. Entries must be mailed flat and not matted, mounted, laminated, framed, or folded.

Entries must be received by September 18, 2014. Winners’ parents or guardians will be contacted by September 25. Mail entries to: Nēnē Logo Contest, Interpretation Division, Haleakala NP, PO Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768. For more information please visit



Fun work

August 24, 2014
NPS diver in front of cliffs at KALA

An NPS diver settles into a day’s work. Photo by S. Lee.

Occasionally when an NPS scientist pokes around with a camera, they come across a gem of a photo.

Here, an NPS diver prepares for the fun part of work at Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Every year, divers from the NPS Inventory and Monitoring program capture and analyze literally hundreds of photos of the seafloor at Kalaupapa NHP, and three other Pacific Island national parks, to keep tabs on the health of the ecosystem.

Look for more amazing photos on the blog soon.

Ceremony and Festivities Welcome Hokule’a and Hikianalia Crews to American Samoa

August 22, 2014

Hikianalia and Hokule'a with Rainmaker (Pioa) Mountain in the background.

Hikianalia and Hokule’a with Rainmaker (Pioa) Mountain in the background.

Yesterday, the territory welcomed the Hokule’a and Hikianalia crews from Hawaii. A traditional Samoan ava ceremony was held to honor their arrival. Later, the American Samoa Community College Samoan Studies Program, the Swains Island group, and the crews performed songs and dances. It was an exciting day in American Samoa!

#Hokulea #MalamaHonua #WorldwideVoyage





Hokule'a and Hikianalia crews perform a Hawaiian chant to request permission to come ashore.

Hokule’a and Hikianalia crews perform a Hawaiian chant to request permission to come ashore.

Samoan ava ceremony

Samoan ava ceremony

Hokule'a and Hikianalia crews perform during the festivities.

Hokule’a and Hikianalia crews perform during the festivities.


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