|The lighting of the palms at a Pāhala home, tempered by particulates and S02 in the air. Photo by Julia Neal|
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS THROUGH HAZE FROM VOLCANIC PARTICLES AND SO2 from Kīlauea Volcano have made for some eery scenes during the long holiday weekend. Since the new lava lake began forming early this week, air quality conditions have fluctuated from good to hazardous for sensitive people. The wafting of S02 through Volcano, Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, Ocean View and up the Kona Coast, varies wildly depending on the wind.
At 2 p.m. today, air quality was worse in Kona than in Kaʻū, with Kailua-Kona's reading for particulates 18.7 ug/m3, Kona 15.3, Ocean View 16.5 and Pāhala 7.2. S02 registered 4 in Pāhala and Nāʻālehu, 16 in Ocean View and 10 in Captain Cook. The PM2.5 fine particle measure was 33 in Hilo, 42 in Kona, 39 in Captain Cook, 35 in Ocean View, 4 in Nāʻālehu and 1 in Pāhala.
|A patriotic Christmas lighting display in Pāhala with Filipino and American flags|
displayed brightly by this immigrant family. Photo by Julia Neal
Early this morning, the west vent dumping lava was active while the north vent quieted and started to drain the lake. Reduced SO2 emissions were measured last night.
According to the USGS report, preliminary analysis of sulfur dioxide emission rates measured last night suggest that the rates have dropped to 16,000-20,000 tonnes/day, down from 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes/day. Summit tiltmeters continued to record slowing deflationary tilt until just before 3 a.m. this morning, when it switched to inflationary tilt. Seismicity remained elevated but stable, with a few minor earthquakes and tremor fluctuations related to the vigor of fissure fountaining.
|The lighting of the porch on this Pikake Street Home in Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal|
USGS reported that its field crews are making measurements to confirm whether the lake surface continues to drop. An island of cooler, solidified floating lava, drifting slowly northeastward in the lake, apparently grounded itself near the north vent. It is still about 850 ft. in length and 375 ft. in width based on the Dec. 23rd thermal map. See https://www.usgs.gov/maps/december-23-2020-k-lauea-summit-eruption-thermal-map. At about 6 a.m. this morning, the island started to slowly drift to the southeast. Webcam views of the lava lake can be found here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html. For the most current information on the eruption, see https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/current-eruption.
USGS also reports that Mauna Loa is not erupting and remains at Volcano Alert Level ADVISORY. This alert level does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to eruption from current level of unrest is certain. Mauna Loa updates are issued weekly.
This past week, about 60 small-magnitude earthquakes were recorded beneath the upper-elevations of Mauna Loa; most of these occurred at depths of less than 8 kilometers (about 5 miles). The largest recorded earthquake was a M2.5 beneath the volcano's northwest flank on Dec. 23 at 9:21 p.m. The earthquake activity on Mauna Loa's northwest flank, which began on Dec. 4, has subsided to average long-term trends. Global Positioning System measurements continue to show slow, long-term summit inflation, consistent with magma supply to the volcano's shallow storage system. Gas concentrations and fumarole temperatures at both the summit and Sulphur Cone on the Southwest Rift Zone remain stable. Webcam views have revealed no changes to the landscape over the past week. For more information on current monitoring of Mauna Loa Volcano, see: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna_loa/monitoring_summary.html Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.
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|Ikaika Marzo, the recent runner up to become Hawaiʻi County Mayor, came to Nāʻālehu today with boxes of SO2 masks|
to give out to the public. He met with off-duty Nāʻālehu School Principal Darlene Javar (left). Photo by Bob Martin
|Geologist Philip Ong is checking|
out the air quality in Kaʻū.
Photo by Bob Martin