Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Kilauea Volcano Erupts Explosively And Vents Noxious Gas

Date:
March 29, 2008
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
Explosive eruptions and noxious gas emissions at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii this week have prompted scientists to work around the clock to understand what will happen next. Scientists are monitoring gas emissions and seismic activity at Kilauea, which on March 19 experienced its first explosive eruption since 1924. The volcano is also emitting sulfur dioxide at toxic levels.

The gases coming out of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii are shifting: Toxic sulfur dioxide gas levels are increasing dramatically, which might indicate other changes ahead.
Credit: USGS

Explosive eruptions and noxious gas emissions at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii this week have prompted scientists to work around the clock to understand what will happen next and how to keep the public out of harm's way.

Scientists are monitoring gas emissions and seismic activity at Kilauea, which on March 19, 2008 experienced its first explosive eruption since 1924. The volcano is also emitting sulfur dioxide at toxic levels.

At 2:58 a.m. H.s.t on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, a small explosion occurred at Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This event was erroneously reported as an earthquake earlier this morning. The explosion scattered debris over an area of about 75 acres (30 hectares), covering a portion of Crater Rim Drive and damaging the Halema‘uma‘u overlook. No lava was erupted as part of the explosion, suggesting that the activity was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.

In addition to damaging the overlook, explosive debris covers the trail to the overlook, the Halema‘uma‘u parking area, and the portion of Crater Rim Drive adjacent to the parking area. On Crater Rim Drive the debris was up to 2 centimeters in size, with the size and thickness of debris increasing toward the overlook. The largest observed block ejected during the explosion was about 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet) and must have been propelled from the vent located more than 70 m (230 feet) below the crater rim. Small impact craters from 30 cm (1 foot) blocks are abundant in the Halema‘uma‘u overlook area. Rock debris also extends halfway across the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. The debris is composed of rock fragments that were derived from the walls of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. No fresh lava was observed on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u or in the ejected debris.

At 2:55 am, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a series of seismic events that may have been shallow, high-frequency earthquakes or minor explosions. The main explosion at 2:58 was associated with long period seismicity. Low frequency sound waves were also detected by the University of Hawai`i infrasound laboratory, operated by Dr. Milton Garces. These signals have persisted through this morning indicating continuing energetic release of gas from the vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

The explosion produced a small crater along the east wall of Halema‘uma‘u that is about 20-30 meters (65-100 feet) in diameter. The crater occupies the area in which incandescence had been observed during the previous week. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the new explosion crater are still elevated, and sounds of rock breaking are frequent.

This is the first explosion in Halema`uma`u crater since 1924 and the first eruption of any kind in Kilauea caldera since September 1982.

Future explosive activity is possible and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor the activity.

Sulfur dioxide emissions at the volcano's summit have increased to a rate that is likely to be hazardous for areas downwind of Halema'uma'u crater. Future explosions from Halema'uma'u Crater are possible.

"This historic activity has created new hazards that did not exist before -- explosive eruptions as well as toxic sulfur dioxide emissions -- in the middle of a national park," said U.S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator John Eichelberger.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Kilauea Volcano Erupts Explosively And Vents Noxious Gas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080327171053.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2008, March 29). Kilauea Volcano Erupts Explosively And Vents Noxious Gas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080327171053.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Kilauea Volcano Erupts Explosively And Vents Noxious Gas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080327171053.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) At least six Nepalese guides are dead after an avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest along a route used to climb the world's highest peak. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins