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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Failure of Lava Levees Could Result in Rapid Advance of Kilauea Flows

Vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Overnight, Fissure 8 continued to produce persistent fountains that reached heights of 200-250 feet. A small spatter cone is forming on the downwind side of the fountain and is approximately 100 feet high. The fountains are feeding flow activity to the northeast, and minor overflows from the Fissure 8 channel are occurring along its length. One overflow covered the remaining northern part of Makamae Street in Leilani Estates. This overflow crossed Kahukai street, filling in a low area between Makamae and Luana streets. The front of the Fissure 8 flow near Noni Farms road advanced at rates of about 80 yards/hour. At 6:15 AM HST, the flow front was 2.2 miles above the Four Corners area.

High eruption rates from Fissure 8 have led to the formation of a leveed channel along the western edge of the lava flow. Failure of flow levees could result in rapid advance of flows. Flow margins are extremely hazardous and should not be approached.

Additional eruptive activity overnight occurred from Fissure 7/21. Fissure 18 is also active, but the lava flow, which was moving toward Highway 137 last night, has stalled.

Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass from high fountaining of Fissure 8 are falling downwind of the fissure and accumulating on the ground within Leilani Estates. Winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.

The most recent map of lava flows can be found here.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crews are on site tracking the fountains, lava flows, and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense. Crews are also checking on the status of ground cracks on Highway 130.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions. Trade wind conditions are bringing vog to the south and west sides of the Island of Hawaii.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past few days and the number of located earthquakes remains low.

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Ash continued to erupt intermittently from the vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater at Kīlauea’s summit. Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ash fall downwind are possible at any time. Earthquake activity is elevated at the summit, with many small events occurring overnight. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

Read more at the U.S. Geological Survey

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