Halema`uma`u rockfall update: Lava wins again!
After all the concern about the rockfall "snuffing out" the vent at Halema`uma`u Crater in Kilauea, lava is already bubbling and pooling in the vent.
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
A quick update on the rockfall in the Halema`uma`u (got it right this time!) Crater at Kilauea. Last week a rockfall blocked the vent that had been glowing for most of the year from the lava below, but the debris clogged the vent, producing minor accidental tephra explosion.
Lava in the recently "clogged" Halema`uma`u vent at Kilauea. Taken July 6, 2009, courtesy of HVO.
Well, it didn't take long for lava to retake the "clogged" vent. New video from HVO shows lava bubbling back up through the clogged vent (see the video in the above link). The lava has formed a small lava and even produced some spatter as well. This would seem to indicate that the lava is, in fact, not draining from the summit and I (and others) suggested when the rockfall occurred last week. This new activity was somewhat unexpected as HVO released an update this morning (July 6) noting both deflation and a reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions from the Halema`uma`u Crater. Just shows how quickly lava can retake a vent even after what seemed like a significant "clogging".
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