Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – New Activity for the week of 23 May – 29 May 2018

Kilauea | Hawaiian Islands (USA) : HVO reported that the eruption at Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and at Overlook Crater within Halema`uma`u Crater continued during 23-29 May. Lava fountaining and spatter was concentrated in the middle portion of the fissure system, feeding lava flows that spread through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, and also traveled to the ocean.

Earthquakes beneath the summit and ash emissions from Overlook Crater continued as the summit area subsided and adjusted to the withdrawal of magma. Ash emissions were small and frequent, punctuated by larger plumes. The Overlook crater vent continued to widen to the W, and by 25 May the vent area was about 36 hectares. At 1244 on 25 May a M 4 earthquake was located in the summit region. That same day a new pit opened on the N part of Halema`uma`u Crater floor. Three explosions (at 0042, 0144, and 0500) on 26 May generated ash plumes that rose 3-3.3 km (10,000-10,800 ft) a.s.l. A small explosion at 0156 on 29 May sent an ash plume vertically to 4.6 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted slightly NW. The explosion was felt by residents in Volcano, and ejected incandescent blocks within Halema`uma`u Crater. On 28 May a M 4.1 earthquake occurred at 1739 along the Koa’e fault zone, S of the caldera.

Lava fountains from Fissure 22 continued to form a channelized lava flow that entered the ocean NE of MacKenzie State Park, causing explosions and generating a plume of hazardous laze (lava haze, a mixture of condensed acidic steam, hydrochloric acid gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass). On 23 May relatively tall lava fountains at fissures 6 and 13 fed another channelized flow that created a second ocean entry. Observers noted that a perched lava pond/channel was 11 m above ground level, and that methane was seen overnight that burned blue in road cracks. On 24 May lava was entering the ocean at three points between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park, though by the next day only two were active.

Overnight during 25-26 May vigorous spatter was observed from a cone on Fissure 8, and multiple booming gas emissions occurred at Fissure 17. By the morning of 26 May an estimated 9.6 square kilometers had been covered by new lava. Fissures 7 and 21 fed a perched lava pond and sent flows NE; the lava-flow fronts became ‘a’a. A perched pond on the W side of Fissure 7 was breached, sending short flows W. Later that day the flows turned S, and by dusk were cascading into Pawaii crater, adjacent to the W margin of the Fissure 6 flow that fed one of the ocean entries. Lava from Fissure 21 flowed onto Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) property.

During 26-27 May activity at Fissure 7 increased; lava from fountains 45-60 m tall built a large, 30-m-high spatter rampart. Large cracks were observed overnight on Kupono St., near Fissure 9. Three vents active at Fissure 8 spattered and flamed, and doubled in size in one day. On 27 May lava flows from fissures 7 and 8 advanced NE on PGV property; at about 1900 a flow broke out in this area and advanced rapidly to the N and W, through the E portion of Leilani Estates, prompting several residents to evacuate. Three minor ocean entries were again active. Fissure 24 opened in Leilani Estates.

On 28 May the vents that fed the ocean entries stopped erupting, leading to only residual lava in the channel to occasionally enter the ocean. During 28-29 May fountains, lava flows, and spattering from multiple fissures persisted. Pele’s hair from vigorous fountaining (60 m high) at Fissure 8 drifted downwind, with some strands falling in Pahoa. According to a news article, the LERZ eruption had destroyed at least 94 structures, including 53 homes, by 29 May. The flows also cut off road access to PGV, which had been evacuated.

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Klyuchevskoy was identified in satellite images during 19-20 and 24 May. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that a two-minute-long phreatic eruption at Merapi which began at 1349 on 23 May was heard from the Babadan observation post. A plume was not visible due to inclement weather, though minor ashfall was reported in Ngepos post. On 24 May an event at 0256 generated an ash plume that rose 6 km above the crater rim and drifted W. Roaring was heard from all of the Merapi observation posts. A two-minute-long event at 1048 produced an ash plume that rose 1.5 km and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and PVMBG noted that all people within 3 km of the summit should be evacuated.

Piton de la Fournaise | Reunion Island (France) : OVPF reported that the eruption at Piton de la Fournaise which began on 27 April from fissures at Rivals Crater continued through 29 May. Tremor levels continued to decrease slightly, though were mostly stable at low levels. Observations on 24 May indicated flowing lava was mostly confined to tubes, though a small area of incandescence was visible at the main crater.

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