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New Lobe of Lava Flow Advances

December 2, 2014

The breakouts that began about two weeks ago near the area of ground cracks continued to advance downslope over the past week, creating a new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. This lobe is a short distance west of the earlier portion of the June 27th flow that reached Pāhoa. The new lobe advanced about 2.8 km (1.7 miles) over the past week, which is equivalent to about 400 meters per day (0.25 miles per day). A narrow lava channel was active this morning at the leading tip of the new lobe. The leading tip of this active lobe was 4.6 km (2.9 miles) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road (the intersection by Pahoa Marketplace). (USGS)

The following photos and maps were released by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS) (Dated December 1, 2014) . Note: these images 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 look at the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the active lobe. The channel consists of both open sections as well as sections that are crusted over. (USGS)

A small breakout was also active on the upslope portion of the June 27th lava flow. The pāhoehoe lava was flowing over an ʻaʻā flow from late 2007. (USGS)

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the leading tip of activity on the June 27th lava flow. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. The thermal image shows the narrow lava channel near the leading tip of the new lobe. (USGS)

A comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the narrow channel at the leading tip of the new lobe on the June 27th lava flow. The normal photograph is partially obscured by smoke from vegetation burning, but the thermal image can “see” through the smoke to show the nature of the channel in detail. Some sections of the channel are completely covered by crust (forming a lava tube), while other sections were open with a smoothly flowing surface. (USGS)

This map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of the June 27th lava flow. The area of the flow on November 24, 2014, at 12:00 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 1 at 11:30 AM is shown in red. Most surface flow activity is focused into a narrow finger that branches off the west edge of the flow field north of the East Rift Zone crack system. The front of this finger (19.475836, -154.986834 Decimal Degrees) was 4.6 km (2.9 mi) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road at the Pahoa Marketplace. The dotted blue lines show the pertinent steepest-descent paths, calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/), that the flow is projected to follow. Note that about 1 km (0.6 mi) downslope from the tip of the active flow two different steepest-descent paths come very close together. This is a location where the ground becomes very flat, and the flow could end up following either (or both) of these paths. Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the dotted blue line can be used to infer only an approximate flow path. (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 November 24, 2014, at 12:00 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 1 at 11:30 AM is shown in red. Most surface flow activity is focused into a narrow finger that branches off the west edge of the flow field north of the East Rift Zone crack system. The front of this finger was 4.6 km (2.9 mi) upslope from the intersection of Highway 130 and Pāhoa Village Road at the Pahoa Marketplace. The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Note that about 1 km (0.6 mi) downslope from the tip of the active flow two different steepest-descent paths come very close together. This is a location where the ground becomes very flat, and the flow could end up following either (or both) of these paths. Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. All older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2014) are shown in gray; the yellow line marks the active lava tube. (USGS)

This small-scale map shows the June 27th lava flow in relation to lower Puna. The area of the flow on November 24, 2014, at 12:00 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on December 1 at 11:30 AM is shown in red. (USGS)

 

 

 

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