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Volcano Update

The June 27 flow advances toward Pahoa

In an Aug. 22 news release, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory stated that a new lava flow, dubbed the June 27 flow for the date it began, was rapidly advancing toward residential areas near Pahoa in the Puna District of Hawaii Island. By that time, the flow had entered a pre-existing ground crack, which channeled the flow to the east. The crack eventually filled and lava emerged from its lower end, only to spill into an adjacent crack. This process was repeated several times during the following days, with some ground cracks capturing and directing the flow, while others were filled as lava advanced across them. The average advance rate for the flow during this period was about 820 feet per day.

County exploring routes around lava

County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Tuesday night officials are “looking at multiple other ways to create connectivity” in the event lava from the June 27 flow crosses Highway 130 and isolates lower Puna.

HVO scientists are closely watching Kilauea and Mauna Loa

Volcanoes are prominent in the news lately with eruptions near Barbardunga volcano in Iceland and Tavurvur volcano in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, as well as Kilauea volcano’s continuing eruption on Hawaii Island. But to prevent any possible confusion, the volcanic activity in Iceland and Papua New Guinea is not affecting the eruption in Hawaii.

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If it happened yesterday, it can happen tomorrow

We’ve learned a lot about Kilauea’s explosive history in the past 15 years. Once thought to be rare, explosive eruptions from the volcano’s summit are instead frequent and clustered into periods lasting several centuries. For example, between 1500 and the late 1700s, Kilauea’s eruptions were almost always explosive. We can be thankful that Kilauea is in a quiet period now, but we shouldn’t have an ostrich mentality about the future. If it happened yesterday, it can happen tomorrow.

Description of Kilauea eruptions started at opportune time

William Ellis led a team of missionaries on a tour of the Island of Hawaii starting on July 18, 1823, from the village of Kailua. Their trip took them around the southern coast of the island and inland through the east Ka‘u District. When they were in the vicinity of Kapapala, a short distance northeast of Pahala, their attention was drawn to some rising columns of “smoke” a few miles away.