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Lava from Kilauea volcano remains contained

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A telephoto image of the west vent in Halemaumau at the summit of Kilauea, taken from the western rim of the crater on Saturday.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A telephoto image of the west vent in Halemaumau at the summit of Kilauea, taken from the western rim of the crater on Saturday.

Lava continues to erupt from multiple vents along the floor and western wall of Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported at 10:59 a.m. Sunday that Kilauea’s lava lake had risen over 3.3 feet during the previous 24 hours, bringing its total rise to 89 feet since the eruption started. Seismicity and volcanic gas emission rates also remain elevated.

HVO is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii. HVO changed the alert level for Kilauea from an orange/watch level to a red/warning level on Sept. 29.

The west vent is the most vigorous, with lava fountain heights reaching from 33 to 49 feet, HVO said. The lava lake has risen to the base of the west vent, around which a cone is being built. Other vents, including a 115-foot fissure, continue to be active in the central and southern parts of the lake, with sustained lava fountain heights of 16 to 33 feet.

HVO said occasional fountain height bursts also have been observed over the past 24 hours and the lava lake is not level. In places, the cool lava crust on the surface of the lava lake has been overridden by less-dense liquid from below causing the crust to sink into the underlying lake lava.

The eruption is taking place in a section of the park that has been closed to the public since 2007. However, HVO advises Hawaii island residents and visitors that high-levels of volcanic gas can have far-reaching effects downwind. As sulfur dioxide is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create vog, which creates the potential for airborne health hazards, damages to agricultural crops and other plants, and harm to livestock

HVO warned visitors to the park about ashfalls and also warned nearby residents to minimize exposure to volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation.

In an earlier social media post, the Hawaii Red Cross stressed: “There is currently NO THREAT to any homes or populated areas of the Big Island. We will continue to monitor the event and update as needed.”

In spring 2018, Kilauea had a major eruption in Leilani Estates that destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of residents. Before that eruption, the volcano had been slowly erupting for more than 30 years. The eruption ended in late summer 2018, but lava returned to Halemaumau last December and that eruption lasted until May.

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