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Hawai‘i Volcanoes Offers Free Entry on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 27

September 12, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park invites everyone to volunteer and help protect the park’s native ecology on National Public Lands Day, Sat., Sept. 27. Everyone gets in for free, and volunteers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will receive a free pass to use on another day of their choosing.

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, and all fee-charging national parks offer free entry.  Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs on NPLD to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands.

Stewardship at the Summit. Join Park Ecologist David Benitez and volunteers Paul and Jane Field , and remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea.  While pretty and fragrant, Himalayan (also called kāhili) ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It’s listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow, and it crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided.  No advance registration required.
When: Sat., Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to noon
Where:
Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center

Himalayan ginger

Volunteer Jane Field removes invasive ginger from Halema‘uma‘u Trail. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

 Highway 11 Beautification
Join Park Ranger Nainoa Keana‘aina and pick up trash along the stretch of Highway 11 that runs through the park. Meet Ranger Nainoa at Mile Marker 40, approximately 12 miles from the entrance on the Ka‘ū side of the park. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, gloves, and water. Rubbish bags and safety vests provided. No advance registration required.
When: Sat., Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: Meet Ranger Nainoa on Highway 11 at Mile Marker 40

Ranger Nainoa

Meet Ranger Nainoa at Mile Marker 40 for the Highway 11 beautification program. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Kīlauea Iki Ecology Hike.
Ranger Dean Gallagher will guide a four-mile, three-hour moderately difficult hike through rainforest into Kīlauea Iki crater, and explain why protecting this diverse ecosystem thriving at the summit of erupting Kīlauea Volcano is so important. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. No advance registration required.
When: Sat., Sept. 27, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Meet Ranger Dean at Kīlauea Overlook

Kilauea Iki

Meet Ranger Dean at the Kīlauea Overlook for an ecology hike. NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi

 

The June 27th Flow Advances Toward Pāhoa

September 12, 2014

View of the advancing lava flow earlier this week. (USGS)

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

(Click to see the most recent post with the latest photos and videos of the lava flow in Puna)

In an August 22, 2014, news release, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) stated that a new lava flow, dubbed the June 27th flow for the date it began, was rapidly advancing toward residential areas near Pāhoa in the Puna District of the Island of Hawaiʻi. By that time, the flow had entered a pre-existing ground crack, which channeled the flow to the east. The crack eventually filled and lava emerged from its lower end, only to spill into an adjacent crack. This process was repeated several times over the following days, with some ground cracks capturing and directing the flow, while others were simply filled as the lava advanced across them. The average advance rate for the flow during this period was about 250 meters per day (820 feet per day).

By September 4, the flow had advanced to within 1.3 km (0.8 mi) of Kaohe Homesteads, prompting HVO to elevate the Alert Level Code from “WATCH” to “WARNING” to draw attention to the increased threat (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/).

The June 27th flow filled and exited the last major crack in its path on September 6, when lava turned north as it escaped the system of cracks, faults, and grabens (down-dropped blocks) that had channeled its advance within Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. Thereafter, the flow began to move steadily forward as a surface flow, bypassing the south portion of Kaohe Homesteads. With this change in direction, however, the June 27th flow picked up speed and began to travel at about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day).

The flow narrowness and rapid development of a robust tube system within subsurface cracks make the June 27th lava flow unique among the hundreds of lava flows that Puʻu ʻŌʻō has erupted. Our best estimates suggest that the tube is transporting about 300,000–400,000 cubic meters per day (55,000–73,000 gallons per minute) of lava to the flow. This is approximately the long-term average eruption rate for Puʻu ʻŌʻō over its 31-plus year eruptive history.

(USGS)

To forecast where this lava flow could go in future days, HVO has calculated downslope paths using a digital elevation model (DEM). These paths are identified as blue lines in most of the recent maps posted on the HVO website (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/). Which path the flow might follow becomes more obvious as the flow advances across the Puna terrain.

By September 11, the flow had veered to the northeast and was headed toward the northwest edge of Kaohe Homesteads. If the flow continues, HVO forecasts that the flow will cross Pāhoa Village Road about 1.2 km (0.7 mi) toward the center of Pāhoa from the Pāhoa Marketplace on or around September 24-26.

HVO is working closely with Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense (HCCD) to monitor the June 27th flow. HVO scientists are participating in public Community Meetings in Pāhoa, as well as in meetings with County and State Departments to provide the best information possible during this time.

Daily Kīlauea eruption updates describing conditions for the entire volcano are posted on the HVO website every morning (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php). In addition, HVO monitoring flights are conducted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to map the flows, assess their hazards, and acquire photos and infrared video. HCCD Administrator Darryl Oliveira also flies over the lava flow every morning and posts a daily update at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

The HVO and HCCD information is compiled into maps that are posted after each HVO overflight at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maps/. Photos and videos of the lava flow are posted at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/multimedia/.

HVO’s website also offers a limited ability to view the June 27th lava flow on webcams (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/cams/region_kier.php). When conditions are clear, the distant smoke plume can usually be seen in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō North Flank (PNcam) image, although the June 27th flow front is quite far away. The Mobile Cam 3 (R3cam) is also pointed toward the flow front and usually shows smoke during the day and glow at night from the flow front and nearby breakouts.

We encourage Puna residents to stay informed about the lava flow. We all can hope for the best, but must also plan for the worst.

USGS: “Flow Moves Closer to Kaohe Homesteads”

September 11, 2014

The June 27th lava flow remained active Wednesday afternoon, September 10, 2014, with the most distal flow front 14.5 km (9.0 mi; straight-line distance) from the vent on the northeast flank of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, which is visible in the far background. Over the past day, the flow front direction shifted from a north trend to a more northeast trend, bringing the flow closer to the Forest Reserve boundary. The flow continued to advance through thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfed trees and other vegetation. The smell of smoke has been detected far downwind of the flow, but fires are not spreading beyond the margin of the flow. Small, sluggish breakouts of lava (smoke plumes in far distance) also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. (USGS)

The following photos and video were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS) (Dated September 10, 2014) . Note: these photos and video 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). Click here to see photos from previous post.

CLICK TO PHOTO WATCH VIDEO: This Quicktime movie provides an overview of activity near the front of the June 27th lava flow, and shows the position of the flow front relative to Kaohe Homesteads and Pahoa. (USGS)

View from above the end of the June 27th lava flow, looking along its northeast trend through the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. On the afternoon of September 10, 2014, the flow front was 0.6 km (0.4 mi) from the boundary between the Forest Reserve and Kaohe Homesteads, visible at far right. (USGS)

Smoke plumes indicate the location of the June 27th lava flow, which was 0.6 km (0.4 mi) from the edge of Kaohe Homesteads, visible in foreground, on September 10. The flow was advancing toward the northeast. (USGS)

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone on September 10, 2014. The area of the flow on September 8, 2014, at 12:45 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 10 at 2:45 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 14.5 km (9.0 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and 0.6 km (0.4 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.6 km (10.3 miles). The flow was advancing toward the northeast. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube. (USGS)

his large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities. The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. The latitude and longitude of the flow front on September 8 was 19.460895/-154.986613 (Decimal degrees; WGS84). The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). (USGS)

This shaded-relief map, with digital surface data provided by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, shows some of the cracks, faults, and grabens (down-dropped blocks between adjacent faults; http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/glossary/?term=graben) that are present in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, and which have partly controlled the June 27th flow’s advance direction. The June 27th flow as of September 8, 2014, at 12:45 PM is shown in pink, while flow advance since then (as of ~2:45 PM on September 10) is shown in red. At the time of the mapping, the flow was advancing toward the northeast. (USGS)

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATEThursday, September 11, 2014 9:27 AM HST (Thursday, September 11, 2014 19:27 UTC)

This report on the status of Kilauea volcanic activity, in addition to maps, photos, and Webcam images (available at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php), was prepared by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). All times are Hawai`i Standard Time.

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

Activity Summary: Kīlauea continued to erupt at its summit and within the East Rift Zone, and gas emissions remained elevated. Summit inflation continued, with a slight rise in lava level. At the middle East Rift Zone, the front of the June 27th flow continues to advance through forest near Kaohe Homesteads, and surface breakouts are also present closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

June 27th Lava Flow Observations: The June 27th lava flow remains active. An HVO overflight yesterday afternoon observed that the flow front had shifted towards a more northeast direction, bringing it closer to the western boundary of Kaohe Homesteads (which is the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve). The flow front at 2:45 pm yesterday was 14.5 km (9.0 miles) from the vent, measured in a straight line, and 0.6 km (0.4 miles) from the Forest Reserve/Kaohe Homesteads boundary. The actual length of the flow, measured along the lava tube axis (so that bends in the flow are considered) is 16.6 km (10.3 miles). Between September 6 and 10, the flow front has advanced at approximately 400 meters (460 yards) per day. The flow front is still in thick forest, creating smoke plumes as it engulfs trees and other vegetation, but fires are not spreading away from the flow.

Small breakouts also remain active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, roughly midway along the length of the June 27th flow. None of these breakouts have been very vigorous recently, but are also producing smoke plumes as they creep into the adjacent forest.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: There was no significant change in tilt at Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past day. Glow was visible overnight above several outgassing openings in the crater floor. Aerial views yesterday found small lava ponds within the northeast, north, and south pits. The southeast pit had a new lava pond with a small flow erupting onto the crater floor. The most recent sulfur-dioxide emission-rate measurement for the East Rift Zone was 400 tonnes per day (from all sources) on September 2, 2014.

Summit Observations: Inflation continued at Kīlauea’s summit. The lava lake level rose slightly and was roughly 55 m (180 ft) below the Overlook crater rim this morning. There was no major change in seismicity over the past day; seismic tremor at the summit remained low and varied with changes in spattering on the surface of the lava lake. GPS receivers spanning the summit caldera recorded about 5 cm (2 in) of extension between early May and early July. Since then, GPS line length has tracked changes in ground tilt. During the week ending on September 9, 2014, the elevated summit sulfur-dioxide emission rate was measured at 3,300–7,600 tonnes/day (see caveat below), and a tiny amount of particulate material was carried aloft by the plume.

 

‘Ōpae ‘ula observes humans at play

September 10, 2014

Sometimes a fresh perspective can make all the difference.

The NPS Inventory & Monitoring Program regularly tests the water quality in the anchialine pools (unique brackish water pools) of Hawai’i island’s national parks. Many of these coastal pools harbor several species of ‘ōpae ‘ula. These tiny red shrimp are native to Hawaii and are often a sign of a healthy brackish water body.

We thought it might be interesting to film water quality monitoring from an ‘ōpae’s perspective. Might they be curious about the giant probes temporarily invading their homes? Either way, our visits to these anchialine pools do create a momentary stir. But 20 minutes later, the scientists leave the pool just as we found it, with water samples in hand and all kinds of data (e.g. temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen) recorded on our instruments.

We’ll see each other again in about three months. Until then, Aloha.

New $25 Tri-Park Pass Now Available

September 9, 2014

For less than seven cents a day, visitors can enjoy Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park by purchasing the annual tri-park pass, which is good for one year from the date of purchase.

The new $25 pass depicts a coastal plant, naupaka kahakai (Scaveola sericea), by Hilo artist John Dawson. The plant was chosen because it is found along the coastline of all three national parks.

The tri-park pass is valid for one year from the date of purchase, and allows for non-commercial entry to all three parks. Two signatures are allowed per pass and a valid photo ID must be presented upon pass use. The pass is non-transferable and non-refundable.

“The passes are an incredible value, and they make an ideal gift for anyone, especially Hawai‘i Island and Maui residents, and any fan of Hawai‘i’s national parks,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “They are so attractive that people often keep the passes as keepsakes after they expire.”

The tri-park pass is available for purchase at the entrance stations at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.

 

7 cents a day!

The new tri-park pass designed by Hilo artist John Dawson depicts coastal naupaka, a native plant found on the shorelines of the three national parks that offer the pass. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

 

Lava Flow Continues to Advance North

September 9, 2014

The June 27th flow continues its advance toward the north, creating a dense smoke plume as it spreads through the forest. The tip of the active flow today was 13.7 km (8.5 miles) straight-line distance from the vent, and 1.2 km (0.7 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. This boundary is the western edge of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, seen in the foreground. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible on the horizon, partly obscured by the smoke plume. The actual length of the flow, measured along its axis, is 15.7 km (9.8 miles). (USGS)

The following photos and videos were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS) (Dated September 8, 2014) . Note: these photos and video 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). Click here to see photos from previous post.

This view shows the active flow front from behind. The lava feeding the flow emerges from a crack parallel to the road at lower right, which goes to the True/Mid-Pacific geothermal well site. Kaohe Homesteads is to the right, Pāhoa is at the upper right, and Ainaloa and Hawaiian Paradise Park are at upper left. (USGS)

CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH VIDEO: This Quicktime video provides an aerial view of the activity at the front of the June 27th lava flow. (USGS)

Several small breakouts persist along the middle part of the June 27th flow, closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Most of these breakouts are burning trees as well, as seen in this photo. The flow front is in the distance, at upper left, and the closer smoke plumes are from these other breakouts. (USGS)

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of September 8, 2014. The area of the flow on September 6 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 8 at ~12:45 PM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 13.7 km (8.5 miles; straight-line distance) from the vent and 1.2 km (0.7 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve. The flow was advancing toward the north, roughly parallel to the Forest Reserve boundary. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). (USGS)

This large-scale map shows the distal part of the June 27th flow in relation to nearby Puna communities. The area of the flow on September 6 at ~11:10 AM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 8 at ~12:45 PM is shown in red. The black dots mark the flow front on specific dates. (USGS)

 

Lava Flow Remains Active

September 7, 2014

Breakouts remain scattered along the June 27th lava flow, and are not just limited to the flow front. Here surface flows have recently cut a swath through thick forest. (USGS)

The following photos and videos were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS) (Dated September 6, 2014) . Note: these photos and video 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). Click here to see photos from previous post.

Following a reduction in surface activity yesterday, we observed an increase in surface flows today issuing from the ground crack. The reduction yesterday was likely due to lava filling the deep ground cracks. The flow front today was moving towards the north from the ground crack, through thick forest, creating a dense plume of smoke. The farthest active flows today were 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 1.4 km (0.9 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. This boundary is the western edge of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, seen at the bottom of this photograph. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible on the horizon in the upper right portion of the photograph. (USGS)

Another view of the flow front, looking west. Lava issued from several spots along a deep ground crack earlier this week, as shown by the distinct fingers of lava making up the flow front. The thick smoke plumes show the flow front this morning was moving downslope towards the north (right in image), but it is too soon to know if this northerly flow direction will be sustained. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left portion of the photograph. (USGS)

CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH VIDEO: This Quicktime movie gives a quick aerial overview of activity at the flow front. (USGS)

This thermal image looks west at the June 27th flow front. The active tip of the flow is at the right side of the image, moving north. Lava issued from several spots along a deep ground crack, which has been traced with the dotted line in the left portion of the image. In addition, lava was filling another crack, also marked, closer to the active tip of the flow. (USGS)

A wide view of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, looking northwest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater, on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, is the large fuming crater just to the left of the image center. Just to the right of the center point, on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone, smaller fume sources trace the lava tube supplying lava to the June 27th lava flow (the front of this flow is out of view to the right). In the distance, a faint plume of volcanic gas from the summit of Kīlauea can be seen below the clouds. The broad slopes of Mauna Loa form the skyline. (USGS)

Lava was filling another ground crack near the flow front, as indicated by a line of steam that extended a short distance west of the flow tip. At two spots along this ground crack we observed small pads of lava near the surface. (USGS)

This small-scale map shows the June 27th flow in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone as of September 6, 2014. The area of the flow on September 3 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on September 6 at ~11:10 AM is shown in red. The front of the active flow was 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent and 1.4 km (0.9 miles) from the east boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, and was advancing toward the north, roughly parallel to the Forest Reserve boundary. The blue lines show down-slope paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM). For an explanation of down-slope path calculations, see: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the lava tube. (USGS)

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