Volcano thread (1 Viewer)

bjdeming

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Here's a link to the HVO information statement about those two quakes yesterday.

Of note, they don't link the seismicity to ongoing activity at Pahala, which they investigated this summer. Instead:

This sequence of earthquakes appears to be related to readjustments along the southeast flank of Mauna Loa volcano. There has been no immediate effect on the continuing unrest beneath Mauna Loa summit, which remains elevated at levels similar to the past week. On several occassions large earthquakes have preceded past eruptions of Mauna Loa, though these have typically been larger than today’s earthquakes. It is not known at this time if this sequence of earthquakes is directly related to the ongoing unrest on Mauna Loa.

If I lived anywhere on Mauna Loa's flanks, particularly in HOVE, in the west, I'd sleep lightly and have my go-bag ready and the gas tank topped off until this thing settles down or erupts somewhere.

That lava travels fast.

PS: They also discussed earthquakes the day before those twins in this week's "Volcano Watch."
 
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bjdeming

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This past Saturday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaii County Civil Defense held a public meeting in Ocean View. Here is a video I found of it and just wanted to share it because it's one of those rare instances where science and "just folks" meet.

That is something we're used to with weather, with mets on the daily news and weather right outside the window (and occasionally breaking in :( ).

Not so with volcanoes, which generally only make the news after they've done something spectacular. This makes them seem like something out of Hollywood.

But lots of ordinary people live on volcanoes, just as they do in Dixie Alley and other, uh, interesting places. And they can be hit hard, too -- only with volcanoes, the toll can run into the tens of thousands of lives and a very big area of devastation.

Volcanologists are just as focused on early warning and saving lives as meteorologists are.

That's why HVO and local emergency managers went out to Ocean View this weekend. This huge development is built on fissures that erupted lava during one of Mauna Loa's eruptions in the late 1800s.

I don't know anything about it other than online articles that seem to show that the place had a sketchy start but now is settling down and becoming a good place to live -- but it doesn't sound as though there are many services and lifelines there yet.

Thousands of people live there, and any time Mauna Loa is restless, particularly if it has erupted at the summit far away, chances are that lava might suddenly erupt on these flanks.

And that lava can also move fast.

Well, they'll get into all that in the video, which you might find boring if you're not sitting on the toaster, so to speak. But it's another good example of science in the community, helping out in pretty much the same way as mets do, and for the same reasons.

Just FYI, many of the people on that platform are veterans of Kilauea's 2018 eruption.

Below the video, which is a little hard to follow in spots, are a couple of USGS links and a news report on the Ocean View meeting (there will be similar meetings in the future at other at-risk communities).


Big Island Now coverage.

Mauna Loa update and page from USGS/HVO.

A look back at Mauna Loa's last eruption. The volcano doesn't usually go so long in between events.

 
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thundersnow

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Eh... I pulled that area up on Google maps, and you can clearly see residential areas with street grids constructed on top of lava flows downstream of the volcano. o_O That doesn't seem smart.
 

bjdeming

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You couldn't pay me to live in that zipcode! I wouldn't mind visiting, though.

From my reading, it does sound like their lava hazard zoning isn't perfect yet, island wide.

A lot of development happened on rift zones that these basalt giants tend to have, since they appear inactive.

It took a while after that for science to work out that rifts can channel deep magma movement and host eruptions.

Leilani Gardens found that out the hard way in 2018.

Ocean View is on Mauna Loa's southwest rift zone. There's a northeast zone, too, but that's Hilo's outlook.

Yeah, this volcano takes up the entire central half of the Big Island.

People still move into these developments. We have short memory of disaster -- for instance, the area where Ian landed has been hit before -- and we tend to live and build for conditions in *our* time only.

1984 was long ago, and anyway, that eruption threatened Hilo, not these parts.

Plus, that lava under Ocean View erupted in 1887. It's just part of the background to many people today.

Sigh.

What boggled my mind was the number of people at the meeting who wanted to know who would tell them what to do in an emergency.

Living with severe weather is nervewracking, but emergencies happen often enough to keep you self-reliant.

I almost fell off my chair when Frank mentioned polygons!
 

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Three cheers for the AP! Instead of following the boilerplate Mauna Loa feeding frenzy, this story actually reports the facts in an informative, thorough way.

USGS/HVO's Mauna Loa updates page.

This, by the way, is some footage from 1950 during the volcano's biggest eruption in recorded times (the biggest known flow, from about 1500 years ago, on the other side of the mountain/island, underlies much of Hilo).


Info from HVO on that eruption.

As I understand it, the lava was extremely fluid both because of its chemistry and its temperature: it had risen from great depth shortly before erupting (see the linked HVO article).

No one died, but HVO says there were some close calls. Of course, only a few thousand people lived there then. Way more are in that SW rift zone area now.

If you're on the Big Island this weekend, I think the boffins and Civil Defense will be meeting with the folks in Kona this weekend.

Update, Nov. 3: The USGS just released video from an overflight on October 28 -- what those 1950 flows look like today is the second part (the first is part of the south flank -- this baby is big!):

 
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bjdeming

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Big Island Now did a good story, too. Bottom line: If you're thinking of vacationing in Hawaii this fall and winter, don't let the scary headlines be your only information source. Check out the facts from the experts.

BTW, Kilauea has a lava lake -- great tourism slght! -- and if Mauna Loa does erupt while you're there, lucky you! Half the world will be trying to get in to see the glowing spectacle, and you'll already be there.

From what I've read up on for my writing, these eruptions, starting in the summit crater (and half of the time, staying there), are generally effusive, not explosive.

Sometimes they migrate down one or the other rift zone (SW or NE) in minutes, days, weeks, or even longer.

Have to put some weasel words in there because even Hawaiian volcanoes occasionally go boom. But it's very rare. They are not vicious, like Mount St. Helens or Vesuvius or Pinatubo.

The HVO/CD meetings are for the folks who live in risky areas, particularly on the southwest side. They. Need. To. Have.A.Plan. (And to not wait for someone to tell them what to do during the emergency; that question at one of the meetings really bothered me.)

BTW, if the other side of the mountain erupts, flatter topography means Hilo has a much longer warning time -- likely weeks to months. In the Southwest, it's more like hours.

But the only likely Mauna Loa eruption hazard for most people in the islands outside of those danger zones, including visitors, would be vog.

Aloha! (And please bring me back a lei. :) )
 

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There was a terrible earthquake on Java.

However, there are other hazards in the area.

It is an ongoing situation to follow for anyone curious about whether earthquakes cause eruptions.

Thus far, it hasn't.


He is also a reliable source for information on Indonesian eruptions.

The last recorded eruption at the Gede complex listed on the GVP page was a VEI 2 in 1957. With that history of debris flows and avalanches, though, and a flank in motion, they're smart to restrict access, even if no eruption ensues.

There'a about 4 million people around it, too, per Wikipedia.
 
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bjdeming

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Everybody probably has several questions about Mauna Loa, and since it's a Decade Volcano and I was revising this chapter when Hawaii CD and the USGS started doing their outreach, I happen to have a LOT of information about Mauna Loa handy just now, some of which might answer your question or point you toward more informed sources.

This morning, I tried to put it in convenient form here.

Hazards: The Mauna Loa Observatory is downslope of some current vents, but I don't know if it is at risk. There are some cams at its website.

Otherwise, this summit and rift eruption is in a deserted area right now.

Here are the USGS webcams. Don't look for a red glow unless it is night. During the day, fresh lava tends to be silver on camera, for some reason; look for rising fumes, too, and smoke in vegetated and/or inhabited areas if the lava eventually gets down there.

m-1.webp


The summit thermal cam gives you the best view of activity in the 3-mile-long crater, day or night and in all kinds of weather.

Current view:

m.webp


I think that red stuff on the thermal image is lava, and based on previous looks in quiet time, I'd say there is quite a lot (per usual in a Mauna Loa eruption).

As for the rift eruption, such migration of erupting vents into one of the two rift zones is typical, too.

The good news: it's not on the southwest rift, where warning times can be short and the steep terrain makes lava speedy (and where people live fairly close to possible vent sites).

There's a stretch of fairly flat ground between the Northeast Rift and Hilo. This always slows down flows. In 1984, lava got about 4.5 miles from town; in 1868, it was about a mile from the bay.

And parts of Hilo are built on a prehistoric flow, but that was the biggest known flow.

I don't know how much of the land northeast of Hilo has been developed since 1984.

It's early. The Saddle Road shot is impressive, for such a new eruption, and as in 1950, the eruption migrated very quickly into the rift.

Well, follow the USGS, Hawaii CD, and other official sources -- I've got to go cook up a batch of popcorn. ;)

Latest update from them found on YouTube, apparently streamed about five hours ago, before daylight -- per later update, the eruption migrated into the Northeast Rift:


Needs some suspenders.

PS: I learned during the Kilauea 2018 eruption that Hawaii County = the whole island, and it has a mayor. :cool:

PPS: Honolulu Star-Advertiser coverage. They have (at the moment) a time-lapse thermal image of the summit fissure unzipping.

I downloaded a 24-hour GIF from the visible cam through 12:30 p.m., Hawaiian time. Having a little difficulty uploading it. Hang on...

mlcam.gif
 
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bjdeming

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Here's an earlier stream from them, from about ten hours ago -- almost four hours long, but some terrific views and other information:


Update, 23:53 UTC: If you sat through that, you heard the Two Pineapples guy (top) say that he was going to drive out there (mind-boggling in itself, given the volcano's size).

Apparently he did -- this short appeared on his YouTube account about 20 minutes ago:

 
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bjdeming

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Yes, the atmosphere is affected, too.


And I think this a reliable source: the MLO may go offline. Wonder how close it is; unfortunately weather is very cloudy.


The current view on website of Mauna Loa from their Mauna Kea camera:

imgonline-com-ua-convert28xkJjg7O4Ci.jpg

[
 
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bjdeming

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Tweeted several minutes ago -- three NE Rift fissures thus far:


From the ~5am video, as I understand it, the summit fissure or fissures go the length of the caldera.
 

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The current view from Saddle Road (I think), live as of now at 5 a.m. Hawaiian time):


No official updates yet. I think the summit thermal cam shows increasing yellows and oranges, though.

This is all happening at high elevations, away from people.

At the moment.

Of note, about an hour ago, an M4 happened near Pahala; the HVO writes that it is part of the ongoing swarm there and not related to this or Kilauea's eruption.
 
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bjdeming

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Tweeted within the hour.

The Two Pineapples have gotten enough daylight now to see the MLO, and it's not at risk. The road to it is cut, though (per the USGS). The MLO website only shows the Mauna Kea cam view now, at least on this phone.

They also say that the fissure has extended down a ways overnight. Some of those fountains are awesome. Nobody/no infrastructure or property at risk.

I heard what sounded like a chopper on the cam mike an hour or so ago, but the narrators didn't mention it; wonder if it was an overflight. No official updates yet.
 

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He just mentioned seeing changes -- activity at the fissures pulsing up and down -- but is probably aware that it has been going on for an hour or more.

Here's a snapshot of current seismicity (ALL quakes detected by very sensitive equipment, not just those feelable ones) thus far -- the NERZ (Northeast Rift Zone) is jumping. We'll probably see lots of changes there as this unfolds.

20221129_091314.png

You can see Pahala down there in the south. To the right of that, the seismic cluster near the "Ruins" text is the general area of Kilauea's summit.

NO seismicity showing up in the western rift zone, which is great!

However, there is that line extending a little along the northern and northwestern caldera area. Some of the NERZ flows have gone north, too, per the HVO updates. Far enough down the slope there are inhabited areas and a military base of some sort, so that's something to watch, too.
 
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bjdeming

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Looking at that plume, this reading yesterday is relevant:


From the summit at least, and probably upper flanks, it is above the inversion layer but eventually comes back to the islands on trade winds.

Historically, more 19th and early 20th-century visitors complained of vog from Mauna Loa, not Kilauea (the main problematic source in modern times).

This puzzled those who wrote the papers I read, but maybe we're going to find out why.
 

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I know everyone is focused on the severe weather today, but after that has passed, perhaps the mods could turn this into a separate thread? Or we can keep on here -- whatever everybody wants.
 

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From the Star-Advertiser (linked in an earlier post):


Ken Hon, scientist-in-charge of the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said Monday afternoon that the eruption appeared similar to one from Mauna Loa in 1984 and that if the current flow is maintained, it could be about a week until it approaches the outskirts of Hilo.

County officials and scientists cautioned that Mauna Loa eruptions can be dynamic in early phases, so the public should pay attention to alerts.


This confirms a tweet I saw yesterday from someone apparently at the University of Hawaii, who noted that what were then brand-new fissures seemed to be opening in the same general area as those in 1984, which was also in the NERZ.

Here is the center's page on that eruption.

Someone is probably checking the lava chemistry now to learn if what we're seeing are leftovers from 1984.

Don't laugh. In 2018, Kilauea erupted some uncooled 1955 stuff. Basalt is an excellent insulator.
 

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