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Kilauea

3 February 2000

Flow reaches ocean near Waha`ula

Aerial view of narrow flow spilling over sea cliff at Waha`ula
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Aerial view of shoreline near Waha`ula shows a narrow flow that reached the sea early on February 3. Note how the flow widens inland from the sea; the private access road to Royal Gardens is in upper part of photo.

Glow visible from Pu`u `O`o vents

Vent in west gap on west flank of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea Volcano
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Lava has not erupted onto the crater floor of P`u `O`o or from its flank vents since about early January, but incandescence is visible from several pits on the crater floor. This spatter cone in the west gap of Pu`u `O`o has been inactive for several weeks, but it continues to glow because it is still directly connected to the shallow magma system below.

14 February 2000

Two ocean entries: Lae`apuki still active, Waha`ula starting up

Lava continues to flow steadily into the sea at the Lae`apuki bench. A second ocean entry became active on February 3, when lava began to dribble over the sea cliff at Waha`ula, 4 km east of Lae`apuki. This new ocean entry is located along the east margin of lava flows that were active from July 1997 to late 1998. In the past several days, lava has poured over the cliff intermittently, and a small bench is beginning to form at the base of the cliff.

Photos taken on Feb. 10, 2000.
Aerial view of Lae`apuki bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Aerial view of new entry area near Waha`ula, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Lae`apuki lava bench. The active bench is about 350 m wide and it extends about 120 m into the sea (light-toned flows). The older bench is visible in top right of photo. New Waha`ula entry. A steam plume rises where lava dribbles over the sea cliff, which is about 15 m tall, and enters the sea. If lava continues to pour over the cliff, a bench will likely develop here.

Main pathways of lava descending Pulama pali

Since mid-October 1999, lava flows have advanced down Pulama pali over an area several kilometers wide, covering earlier flows and spreading through several kipuka. Two main lava tubes have developed within these flows and are now supplying lava to the Lae`apuki lava bench and to the wide flow field that has covered the private access road to Royal Gardens subdivision and the newly active Waha`ula entry area.

Photos taken on Feb. 10, 2000.
General paths of active lava tubes shown by lines.
Aerial view of Pulama pali, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Aerial view of Pulama pali and smoke flow, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Aerial view north toward Pulama pali showing the wide flow field covered by lava since mid-October (area between tubes); the underlying flows were emplaced earlier in the eruption. Aerial view north toward Pulama pali showing the narrow lobes of the "Smoke flow" (descending from the upper tube--see large image for detail) and the `a`a flow emplaced in 1985.

Collapse pits on south shield of Pu`u `O`o

Aerial view of collapse pits and craters on south shield of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea Volcano
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View is northwest toward the south flank of Pu`u `O`o showing numerous collapse pits and craters that formed in the past two years. A new collapse crater about 10 m in diameter and 10-15 m deep was noticed on February 3 near Puka Nui, the large pit on the southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o (visible on left skyline of cone). The new crater is the source of the fume plume at the center of image.

23 February 2000

Seismic swarm and ground deformation occurs along upper east rift zone

A swarm of shallow earthquakes began on Kilauea's upper east rift zone at 1342 this afternoon. The swarm is centered near Pauahi Crater, located about 7 km southeast of Halema`uma`u Crater along the Chain of Craters Road. Tiltmeters just east of Pauahi and at Pu`u `O`o both recorded changes related to the swarm, as did tiltmeters at Kilauea's summit.

The swarm is probably recording the movement of magma intruding to within 1-2 km of the ground surface. Such swarms commonly precede new fissure eruptions, but they more often record intrusions rather than eruptions. No new ground cracks have been noted. Gas geochemists are measuring the flux of certain gases in the area in an attempt to determine if magma is indeed near the surface.

As a precautionary move, the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park closed the Chain of Craters Road to all visitors. By 1730 the swarm appeared to be tapering off, but we are remaining vigilant, and the Park will keep the road closed overnight (the road was reopened at 7:30 a.m. on February 24).

Photos taken on Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. HST
Photograph of seismographs, Jagger Museum, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i
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Photograph of Ahua seismograph, located 4 km southeast of Halema`uma`u crater
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Seismographs in the Jaggar Museum, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, show the first few hours of the seismic swarm along the upper east rift zone of Kilauea. The record on the right is for Ahua seismic station, located about 4 km southeast of Halema`uma`u crater.

24 February 2000

Breakouts result from tube blockages

The intrusion of magma into the upper east rift zone of Kilauea on February 23 caused minor but noticeable changes in the ongoing eruption. Lava continued to enter the tube system at Pu`u `O`o, but blockages in the tube above the pali resulted in many breakouts on the active flow field.

During the afternoon of February 24, pahoehoe broke out from a tube in the West flow 200-300 m upslope from the area of the photographs below. The pahoehoe sped down the steep ground surface, transforming into `a`a as it moved. When the photographs below were taken, the `a`a was advancing at a rate of 1 m per minute or faster, burning and bulldozing its way through `ohi`a forest at the edge of a kipuka separating the West and Smoke flows.

`A`a lava flow on Pulama Pali, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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`A`a lava flow on Pulama Pali, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Left: The molten but viscous interior of the `a`a becomes clear when blocks tumble from the side or front of the flow. The contrast between the older, smooth pahoehoe and the active rubbly `a`a overriding it can't be missed.
Right: Front of rapidly moving `a`a. Pieces of broken crust are tumbling from the front, exposing the molten interior. The photographer had to beat a hasty retreat as the falling block in the right center of the photo rolled downslope, igniting the dry forest in an instant.

Tilt of ground at summit marks Feb. 23 intrusion into east rift zone

Graph of ground tilt at the Uwekahuna tiltmeter

The intrusion began at 1:42 p.m. HST when tiltmeters at the summit showed a downward tilt of the ground (red line) toward the caldera. A swarm of small earthquakes along the upper rift zone accompanied the ground deformation. The downward tilt indicates that magma was moving out of the summit reservoir; data from two other tiltmeters on the east rift zone indicate the magma was moving into the rift zone. The reversal of the summit tilt a few hours later indicates when the intrusion stopped and magma once again moved into the summit reservoir.

27 February 2000

Lae`apuki ocean entry active on east side

Late this morning, lava was oozing into the sea along a wide front on the eastern part of the Lae`apuki lava bench. At about noon, a small surface flow spilled from a lava tube at the apex of the sea cliff and the bench, forming a slow-moving pahoehoe flow on the bench.

View is east toward the Lae`apuki lava bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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View is east toward the west part of the Lae`apuki lava bench. The bench extends about 120 m into the sea at its widest point. Lava was oozing into the sea on the east half of the bench (active entry label) this morning. Note the narrow black sand beach in lower left.

Lava breakout and National Park Service warning sign on edge of the Lae`apuki lava bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Just before noon today, lava broke out from the tube supplying lava to the bench. The former sea cliff behind the lava breakout clearly marks the edge of the bench. Behind the danger sign, however, the edge of the bench is poorly defined because surface flows have buried the old sea cliff. Visitors are advised to remain inland of the warnings signs posted by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

View of the active eastern half of the Lae`apuki lava bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Close view of the active Lae`apuki lava bench, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
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Views are southwest toward the active east half of the Lae`apuki bench. Left: Wide view shows the active edge of the bench where lava is oozing into the sea (left side of bench beneath steam plume). Note former sea cliff in middle right of photo. Right: Close view of the active edge of the bench shows lava oozing into sea.

Map of lava flows from Pu`u `O`o to the ocean
10 February 2000

Map of lava flows on south coastal part of Kilauea Volcano

Large map. Map shows lava flows (pink) on Pulama pali and coastal plain active since 23 September 1999 and flows erupted earlier from Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. Lava reached the ocean at the Lae`apuki bench 17-18 December 1999. The eastern part of the active flow field reached the Royal Gardens private access road (blue dashed line) on January 11 and the sea on February 3.


Eruption-viewing opportunities change constantly, so those readers planning a visit to the volcano should contact Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park for the most current eruption information (tel. 808-985-6000).


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Updated: 6 June 2000 (SRB and DAS)