Volcano Watch: A forgotten collapse of Halema‘uma‘u crater on June 5-7, 1916

Last month, a “Volcano Watch” article highlighted a lesser-known Mauna Loa eruption that ended May 31, 1916. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) staff had to make a quick turnaround a week later when Kilauea Volcano’s Halema‘uma‘u crater began to subside. A series of collapse events took place from June 5-7, 1916, and observers described it as one of the most spectacular occurrences they had ever witnessed at Kilauea.

Volcano Watch: What do vog and wildfire smoke plumes have in common?

Since 2010, University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers at the Vog Measurement and Prediction Program (VMAP) have been studying the dispersion of vog in Hawaii. The central goal of the effort has been to provide the public and emergency responders with accurate and timely forecasts that would help limit vog exposure for those in affected areas and communities.

Volcano Watch: How tephra deposits unlock the secrets of Kilauea volcano’s explosive past

I go to the summit of Kilauea most weeks to study the extent, thickness, and physical characteristics of a 400- to 500-year-old tephra deposit, the product of explosive eruptions and part of what is called the Keanakako‘i Tephra. The total deposit is up to 10 meters (30 feet) thick along the southern wall of Kilauea caldera, but it was created by fragment upon fragment of tephra falling to the ground from volcanic plumes rising out of the caldera.

Volcano Watch: The 2018 eruption of Kilauea was big on a global scale

Let’s start with what we know about the size of the 2018 eruption. Recent measurements by U.S. Geological Survey researcher Hannah Dietterich and collaborators using digital elevation models and unoccupied aircraft systems have produced an estimate of the volume of the 2018 lava flow. The high-end estimate is 1.4 cubic kilometers (or about 0.34 cubic miles). The estimate has a range because it is difficult to measure the volume of the lava that poured into the ocean.

Volcano Watch: Magma chamber music can tell a revealing tale

In a lava lake, such as the one present from 2008-18 in Kilauea’s summit Halema‘uma‘u crater, we can sometimes visually observe these fluid motions as ripples or sloshing of the surface following disturbances from rockfalls or gas bursts.

Volcano Watch: Comparing today’s Kilauea summit lava lake with past observations

The Feb. 3 installment of “Volcano Watch” introduced some of the data streams that are used to monitor eruption pauses and renewals at Kilauea’s summit, including ground tilt from borehole tiltmeters. Tilt data also provided valuable insight into the behavior of the lava lake that occupied Halemaʻumaʻu crater from 2008-18, before the series of collapses in 2018 changed Kilauea’s summit topography.