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Halemaumau lava lake continues to rise; Hawaii Health Department warns of vog

  • VIDEO COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    The Halemaumau Crater lava lake continues to rise on Hawaii island. The Kilauea eruption began Sunday night at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

  • COURTESY T. ELIAS / USGS
                                Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gas scientists used an FTIR spectrometer on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater on Monday. The FTIR measures the composition of the gases being emitted during Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing summit eruption by measuring how the plume absorbs infrared energy.

    COURTESY T. ELIAS / USGS

    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gas scientists used an FTIR spectrometer on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater on Monday. The FTIR measures the composition of the gases being emitted during Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing summit eruption by measuring how the plume absorbs infrared energy.

Update 2:30 p.m.

The Department of Health is warning that the eruptive activity at Kilauea’s summit may cause increased levels of vog and sulfur dioxide across the state, affecting respiratory health, especially in those who are sensitive to it.

Areas downwind, such as Pahala and Ocean View have experienced increased levels of sulfur dioxide. Conditions are changing rapidly, and poor air quality and its health affects may be “very localized,” the Health Department warns.

It advises residents and visitors to be prepared and aware of the surrounding conditions, and how they feel and react to vog in the air.

The following measures are advised in the event of voggy conditions:

>>Reduce outdoor activities that may cause heavy breathing; avoid outdoor activity and exercise during vog conditions to reduce exposure and minimize risk.

>>Stay indoors; close windows and doors. Set air conditioners to recirculate.

>>COVID-19 masks do not provide protection from sulfur dioxide or vog.

>>Avoid second-hand smoke and smoking.

>>Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

>>have emergency plans prepared.

>>Heed emergency management officials’ warnings.

Previous coverage

Scientists continue to monitor the eruption in Kilauea Volcano’s summit caldera where a lava lake has now filled the bottom of Halemaumau Crater, doubling the depth of the water lake that was in the crater Sunday evening when the eruption began.

As of early this morning, U.S. Geological Survey scientists calculated that more than 2 billion gallons of lava has erupted, or a surface area of roughly 33 acres.

It rose 9.8 feet in 3 1/2 hours as of 4:45 a.m. today.

The lake is now 1,598 feet below the crater rim observation site, which indicates the lake has filled 440 feet of the bottom of the crater, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported today.

The water lake has vaporized.

Fountaining began on Sunday from three vents on the north and northeast walls, and two remain active now. The middle vent paused briefly from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains open 24 hours a day, but visitors are warned that eruptions can be hazardous and can change at any time. Also, hazardous volcanic gases that billow out of the crater can be dangerous to all, but especially for those with heart or respiratory problems, infants, young children and pregnant women.

For information on viewing, see Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Press Release “How to Safely View the New Eruption in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park” at https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/news/20201221_nr_new-summit-eruption-kilauea.htm.

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