comscore Drivers warned of ash fallout following steam explosion at Kilauea summit | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Drivers warned of ash fallout following steam explosion at Kilauea summit

  • USGS

    USGS update for June 7.

  • Video by Sarah Domai / Honolulu Star-Advertiser

    This timeline of maps provided by USGS shows the progression of lava from May 4 to June 5, 2018.

  • Video courtesy USGS

    Clear conditions at Pu'u 'Ō'ō provided good views into the crater. The crater floor collapsed, and the lava lake drained, a little more than a month ago. The crater now has a funnel-shape geometry with a deeper cylindrical shaft. Rubble fills the base of the shaft.


    Gases rose from Halemaumau Crater atop Kilauea Volcano during an overflight of the summit on Friday at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


    The lava flow from fissure 8 was seen pouring into entering Kapoho Bay during an overflight at 6:13 a.m. Monday. The ocean entry was reported to have occurred by 10:30 p.m. Sunday.


    The parking area for the former Halema’uma’u overlook, closed since 2008, was covered with small ballistic blocks at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Thursday.


    The view of Halemaumau crater from the observation tower at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m.


    USGS officials confirmed the Vacationland subdivision has been completely covered by lava flows in an overflight this morning.


    Fissure 8 fountained Wednesday on Hawaii island.


    The lava flow from fissure 8 entered the ocean at Kapoho on Thursday, as seen in a Sentinel 2 satellite image.


    This screenshot from the live video camera at Kilauea’s summit shows the beginning of Wednesday afternoon’s ash eruption.

Update: 9 a.m.

Lava fountains from fissure 8 reached heights of 130 to 180 feet overnight, said USGS.

Measurements done on Saturday show gas emissions have nearly doubled, possibly indicating an increase in eruption rate from fissure 8.

Minor lava activity continues at fissures 16 and 18.

Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass from fissure 8 are falling downwind of the fissure and accumulating on the ground in Leilani Estates.

6 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a steam explosion occurred at the Kilauea summit early this morning and drivers in Kau, located south of the summit, should be aware of ash fallout.

Fissure 8 continues to produce a large flow entering the ocean at Kapoho Bay.

Saturday, 5 p.m.

Officials say the small overflow outbreak, near the intersection of Highway 132 and Pohoiki, is now fully confined to the channel.

Residents close to the active flow should stay alert and be prepared to voluntarily evacuate with little notice.


Fissure 8 continues to produce a large channelized flow that is still entering the ocean at Kapoho Bay. Sulfur dioxide remains high from fissure eruptions.

The National Weather Service said tradewinds are back and pushing gas emissions to the south.

10 a.m.

A small explosion on the summit of Kilauea volcano triggered an earthquake but there are no reports of damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude 5.2 earthquake happened around 4:50 a.m. today and felt as far as Hilo.

Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say communities on the south part of the island may be impacted by falling ash.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there is no tsunami threat from the earthquake.

6 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported an explosive eruption occurred at the Kilauea summit at 4:50 a.m. today. The resulting ash plume may affect nearby areas and the wind may carry the ash plume to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala and Ocean View.

Fissure 8 continues to produce a large channelized flow that is entering the ocean at Kapoho Bay. The public is advised of the laze plume produced by lava entering the ocean.

Friday, 11 p.m.

Lava fountains from fissure 8 are reaching heights of about 200 to 220 feet.

There are no reported significant changes in the fissure 8 flow field, which continues to push lava to the ocean entry at Kapoho.

Two steam plumes are rising from the ocean flow front and being blown inland.

“Strong thermal upwelling was noted in the ocean extending up to 1000 yards out to sea from the visible lava front,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in its latest report. “Heavy gas and steam emissions were noted at fissures 9 & 10, but lava emission is occurring only at Fissure 8.”

6 p.m.

Visibility continues to be limited on parts of Saddle Road due to high levels of vog and sulfur dioxide from the fissure system moving north and settling into the area. Drivers are warned to drive with caution and visibility on some roads remain at a quarter mile.

Meanwhile a mandatory evacuation order remains for all areas of Leilani Estates, at Pomaikai Street and areas to the east. A curfew has been lifted west of Pomaikai and is open only to residents with official credentials.

Government Beach Road between Kahaki Boulevard and Cinder Road is open to residents with official credentials. There is no curfew.

1 p.m.

There is limited visibility in the Saddle Road area due to high levels of vog and sulfur dioxide from the fissure system moving north. The National Weather Service said the vog is wedging into the Saddle area. Visibility on some roads are a quarter of a mile.

The interior and southern part of Hawaii island are expected to have increased levels of vog through tonight.

The Department of Health suggests limiting outside activities and remaining indoors if you have breathing issues. Visit to monitor sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.

12 p.m.

A U.S. Geological Survey scientist said today there are no signs of impending new vents in and around the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna, where two dozen fissures have opened since magma was first pushed out of Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone on May 3.

“We’ve been tracking the overall rift zone for where it’s becoming pressurized and where new fissures might form,” said Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

“In the past few weeks the overall rift zone has been stable and there’s been a nice steady stream of magma moving through the rift zone and eruption at Fissure 8,” with no indication of pressurization elsewhere, Brantley said during an 11 a.m. phone briefing with reporters.

The USGS has been conducting overflights of the eruption area three times a day, as well as conducting field observations. Crews are checking for new cracks in the earth, tracking whether existing cracks are widening or extending longer distances, and checking for increases in temperature and steam output — all signs that magma is nearing the surface.

“So far we have not seen much change in those cracks uprift of where the fissures are located now,” he said.

Lava fountains and flow from the Lower East Rift Zone are continuing at the same strength as over the past one to two weeks, with most of the action at Fissure 8, Brantley said.

Lava from that vent continues to fountain and is feeding a mile-wide flow front into the ocean at Kapoho.

The latest Kilauea eruption has destroyed 600 homes.

9:45 a.m.

High levels of vog and sulfur dioxide are wafting north and hanging over the Saddle are on Hawaii island this morning.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials advise the public to drive carefully due to poor visibility in affected areas. The interior and southern areas of the island are expected to see elevated levels of vog until tonight.

Due to volcanic emissions and changing wind conditions, Civil Defense is offering the following guidance:

>> The Department of Health recommends limiting outside activities and stay indoors if you have breathing issues.

>> Stay alert and be ready to leave the area should conditions change.

>> N-95 masks that were distributed are for ash or vog particulate and will NOT protect from gasses or vapors, including SO2.

>> You can monitor sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide on Hawaii Island by visiting the Civil Defense website or go directly to

Strong lava fountaining at fissure 8 continues, reaching heights up to 220 feet overnight, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials. There were no significant changes in the fissure 8 flow field observed in this morning’s overflight. And though there is no lava activity from the other fissures, fissure 24 is glowing incandescent and fissures 24, 9 and 10 are “fuming heavily,” the HVO said.

7:45 a.m.

Weather officials expect winds to shift more easterly or southeasterly this morning through Saturday morning, pushing ash to the west and northwest of Kilauea.

Trace amounts of ash and Pele’s hair is expected to fall over northern Kau, Puna, South Hilo and the Saddle area, the National Weather Service said.

5 a.m.

Another small explosion occurred early this morning at Kilauea’s summit and generated a moderate ash plume.

The explosion occurred at 2:44 a.m. and was accompanied by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake centered 4 miles southwest of Volcano at a depth of 1 kilometer, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The ash plume that followed reached less than 10,000 feet.

No tsunami was generated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments (5)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up