Scientists capture first images of New Kilauea eruption

The KÄ«lauea volcano is erupting. Following a sudden increase in seismic activity and an increase in the USGS volcanic alert level from ADVISORY to WATCH this afternoon, lava is once again filling the crater at the Halema’uma’u summit. The alert level has been raised to WARNING. A synthesized voice was used in the narration of this story.

(BIVN) – Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory capture new eruption of Kilauea, and share photos online.

The summit eruption began on Wednesday afternoon. Animated thermal webcam images taken between 2:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. recorded the start of the eruption. Vigorous lava fountains formed in the middle part of the solidified lava lake at Halema’uma’u Crater, filling the ground with new molten lava.

USGS: “A telephoto image of one of the low lava fountains near the center of the growing Halema’uma’u lava lake.” (USGS photo by M. Patrick.)

By 4:43 p.m., vents had opened on the west wall of the crater. Telephoto images taken by scientists show the ventilation zone and the lava fountain through the volcanic gas. By 5:09 p.m., the vents in the west wall had widened.

USGS: “A telephoto image of the cracks that opened in the western wall of Halema’uma’u Crater during the ongoing eruption that began yesterday, September 29, around 3:21 pm HST. Lava from multiple fissures continues to slowly raise the level of the new active lava lake at the top of KÄ«lauea. (USGS image by M. Patrick.)

The new eruption is already generating a vigorous plume of volcanic gas. Sulfur dioxide interacts in the atmosphere with oxygen, moisture, dust, and sunlight to eventually form volcanic smog – known in Hawaii as vog – which can be carried downwind.

The USGS released this map, showing the location of the new cracks at the top.

USGS: “This reference map shows the eruption of the summit of KÄ«lauea at approximately 6:00 p.m. on September 29, 2021. Several new cracks (orange lines) in Halema’uma’u have erupted enough lava (red) to cover almost all of it. of lava lake 12 / 2021-5 / 2021 of more than 36 ft (11 m). From this lava lake, only the peaks of the two largest islands and the western vent (shaded in purple) remain exposed to this Note that this map represents the contour elevations in feet, with the surface of the new lava lake now at approximately 2474 feet (754 m) above sea level.

With the new eruption comes a special new weather report from the National Weather Service in Honolulu:

Areas of volcanic glass or Pelé’s hair were seen near the Halemaumau summit this evening, as several pilots reported nearby. Pelé’s hair will remain possible in the immediate area around Halemaumau Crater during eruptions throughout the night. Residents and visitors are urged to minimize their exposure to volcanic emissions. People with respiratory sensitivity should take extra care to minimize exposure.

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