Measuring magma viscosity early could forecast volcanic eruptions

A USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist measures the height of the growing tephra cone around fissure 8 during Kilauea Volcano’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. (USGS photo/A. Klesh)

USGS: Fissure 8 reactivated on the afternoon of May 28 and at times, was fountaining to heights of 200 feet and feeding a lava flow traveling to the northeast. Details Image Dimensions: 4032 x 3024 Date Taken: TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2018

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Fissure 8 continues to erupt vigorously, with lava streaming through a channel that reaches the ocean at Kapoho Bay. The width of the active part of the lava channel varies along its length, but ranges from about 100 to 300 meters (yards) wide. A clear view of the cinder-and-spatter cone that's building around the vent from ongoing lava fountains can be seen here.

Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Brian Shiro Lava fountaining from Fissure 8, now named Ahuailaau, built a cinder cone the height of a 10-story building. Most of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption’s 0.8 cubic kilometers of lava erupted from this point in the Leilani Estates subdivision.

Lava pours from Kilauea’s Fissure 8, in Leilani Estates, Pahoa. (West Hawaii Today/File)

The 2018 Kilauea eruption provided scientists with an unprecedented opportunity to identify new factors that could help forecast the hazard potential of future eruptions.