Volcano Watch: A new eruption and a new era at Kilauea Volcano

‘Twas the Sunday before Christmas, the eve of the winter solstice, and festive holiday lights blinked of bright red and green. And then, shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, so did the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s (HVO’s) volcano alert level/aviation color codes for Kilauea!

No reprieve from vog in the forecast

A thick layer of vog continues to blanket West Hawaii areas for a third day following the start of an eruption Sunday night at Kilauea Volcano.

Volcano Watch: A small but notable magma intrusion at Kilauea’s summit

The 2018 Lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit caldera collapse marked the end of the 35-year-long Puu Oo and 10-year-long summit lava lake eruptions, and the beginning of a new chapter in Kilauea Volcano activity. The volcano is continuing to behave in ways that are a response to the major events of 2018 and “the new normal” is yet to be defined.

Volcano Watch: When rocks fly

Tephra is the Greek word for ash, and it is the label we use for rocks that come flying out of the volcano during an eruption. Every feature of every single tephra grain has something significant to say about the volcanic process that created the grain and the transport journey it took afterward.

Volcano Watch: How has topography been modeled at Hawaii’s volcanoes?

Modeling topography on active volcanoes is unlike doing so in any other setting, because dramatic changes can occur on timescales far shorter than a human lifetime. For example, in 2018 at Kilauea, approximately 1 cubic kilometer of rock volume (0.25 cubic miles) was lost at the volcano’s summit and deposited on the lower East Rift Zone. So, topographic models can become outdated relatively quickly, and we need to update them accordingly.