HVO: Lava Migration Slows, Elevated Quake Activity Continues

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials reported early Thursday morning that the eruption situation continues with a slight drop in intensity since Wednesday.

Low magnitude earthquake activity continues along the east rift zone in lower Puna which includes Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, to the coastal area of Kapoho.

Due to this activity, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory indicates an eruption is possible but not imminent.  Because it is not possible to predict where an eruption could occur, the areas that could be affected are the regions surrounding Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates or Kapoho.

Pohoiki Road remains closed between Highway 132 and Leilani Avenue due to cracks.

Due to the possibility of an eruption, the following are issued:

  • Area motorists are advised to be on the alert for roadway damage.
  • Prepare and review your emergency plans in case you need to evacuate.
  • Stay alert and informed by listening to local radio stations for Civil Defense updates or call Civil Defense at 935-0031.

A 4.6 magnitude earthquake shook Volcano just after 10:30 a.m.

According to HVO officials, elevated earthquake activity continues in the area of Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone from Highway 130 eastward towards Kapoho. The intensity of seismicity has diminished slightly overnight and the trend of eastward migration of earthquake activity appears to have slowed, as of 8:48 a.m. No shallowing of earthquakes had been detected, as of that time. HVO’s GPS station in the area continues to show motion related to ground deformation in response to the ongoing intrusion.

USGS/HVO photo.

Cracks found in a number of roads in Leilani Estates on Wednesday are likely reflect stresses due to ground deformation caused by the ongoing intrusion. No high temperatures or steam or gas were reported associated with any of the observed cracks. Hawaii County Department of Public Works reported that the crack across Pohoiki Road stopped opening last night at about 10 p.m.

“Although the intensity of seismicity has reduced somewhat, earthquake rates remain elevated and deformation of the ground continues,” HVO wrote in a Thursday update. “Activity could intensify at any time and an outbreak of lava in a new location along the East Rift Zone remains possible. Based on the location of the most recent seismicity and deformation, the region downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, including the area east of Highway 130, remains the most likely location should an outbreak occur.”

Deflationary tilt at the summit accelerated midday Wednesday and is continuing this morning. In concert, the summit lava lake dropped over 30 m (100 ft). Tremor amplitude is fluctuating with lava lake spattering. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist. Gas emissions remain elevated.

Seismicity remains elevated at Puʻu ʻŌʻō but tiltmeters near the cone show no significant deformation overnight. HVO field crews will visit the area Thursday morning to investigate the impacts of Monday’s collapse and assess the condition of HVO monitoring equipment. Watch the HVO web site for photos posted later today.

In addition, on Thursday, HVO field crews will assess any continuing surface activity related to the 61g lava flow in the aftermath of Monday’s changes at the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent. As of Wednesday only scattered, sluggish lava flow activity continued on the pali near the Royal Gardens subdivision. This activity does not pose a threat to nearby communities at this time. There is no lava flow activity on the coastal plain and no lava is flowing into the ocean. Areas of the upper flow field with active lava flows are located within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed to the public by DLNR since 2007 due to volcanic hazards.

Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook Vent from HVO Observation Tower.

Last updated at 10:30 a.m.