One Year Ago…

On June 3rd, 2018 Deb and I flew over the ongoing eruption of Kilauea. It seems so long ago, it seems like yesterday.

Fissure 8 Lava Fountain
The lava fountain at fissure 8 in Leilani Estates throwing lava hundreds of feet in the air on June 3rd, 2018

We looked down on a broad flow front, over a mile wide. The flow burning through orchid farms and papaya orchards, destruction that was painful to watch.

We looked down on a lava fountain hundreds of feet high. Fissure 8 was supplying a river of lava that spelled doom for Kapoho Bay and the beautiful tidepools at Waiʻopae.

A year later the lava is still cooling and the community is still rebuilding. Kilauea is quiet with no lava on the surface anywhere. We wonder where the next eruption will be.

A Walk in the Park

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park reopened to the public at the end of September. Reshaped by the eruptions the park has substantially changed since I was last there back in February. It was well past time I got myself out to the park to see the changes, it had been open almost two months!

Julian examines a lava mushroom near the 1969 fissure on the Mauna Ulu trail
I had resolved to go over the long holiday weekend. An additional idea occurred to me, if I was going, why not kidnap my young nephews along for the trip. We would leave the gals to whatever they will do, and go have an adventure.

Off we go.

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The End in Sight?

When will this eruption end? The answer to that is a question many are asking on this island. Today we might just be seeing the answer.

Tiltmeter data from the summit of Kilauea, 5Aug2018
Tiltmeter data from the summit of Kilauea, as of 5 Aug, 2018 over the past month
Reports and photographs from the eruption zone show a greatly diminished fissure 8, a mere shadow of the lava fountains visible a month ago. The once vigorous lava channel is now sluggish and crusting over in places.

Even more interesting is the deformation data from the summit.

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How long will this eruption last?

It is the question everyone on the island would like an answer for… How long will this eruption last?

Fissure 8 Lava Fountain
The lava fountain at fissure 8 rising about 250 feet as this Kiluaea eruption continues unabated.
As I write this the eruption continues unabated in lower Puna, with fissure 8 producing somewhere between 50 to 150 cubic meters of lava every second.

This lava has covered much of the Kapoho area and built new land out almost a kilometer beyond the old shoreline into waters that were once over hundreds of meters deep. In the process well over 700 homes and farms have been destroyed and permanently altering the landscape of the Puna district.

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