USGS on Hawaii Volcano Changes

Only an 11 minute video, but interesting description of what’s going on inside the volcano on Hawaii:

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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17 Responses to USGS on Hawaii Volcano Changes

  1. philjourdan says:

    Volcanoes fascinate most people (myself included). But in the grand scheme of things, they are merely pimples of the earth. Makes you realize how insignificant we are to the planet.

  2. H.R. says:

    Pretty good vid. Thanks, E.M.

    @phil – I had a similar thought regarding insignificance. That’s just one volcano. Imagine what’s in the mantle and wOw-WEE!

    Let’s just hope no volcanoes from space punch a big hole in the crust. That’ll ruin your day.

    (Sorry ossqss. I don’t think you’re going to duck that one for a while 😜)

  3. H.R. says:

    Oh… that guy looked like he should have stopped to take a leak before giving the presentation. He was doing the Dance of The Enlarged Prostate as near as I could tell.

  4. Larry Ledwick says:

    The thing I find interesting is that the recent lava flows have been much hotter that older events (and more fluid). In modern history we have never seen Kilauea volcano get really serious and do major lava flows over an extended period of time. (yes I know it has been erupting since 1983 but I am talking continuous major release of lava like is currently happening )

    We may have no clue what this volcano is actually capable of if it really clears its throat and gets going as it appears to be doing now.

    As you can see here in the known historic eruptions Kilauea is capable of some very large lava flow events, and these are probably not even representative of its extreme potential due to the short period of modern documented observation.

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    Imagine the colossal pressures needed to squirt molten rock 1900 feet into the air as it did in 1959.

  6. philjourdan says:

    “As you can see here in the known historic eruptions Kilauea is capable of some very large lava flow events,”

    That kind of goes without saying. Those flows in ancient history created the tallest mountain in the world (base to summit). So yea, that is a lot of lava!

  7. David A says:

    Per the video the current flow rate is upwards of about 3.5 square miles ( 2240 acres) one meter deep per day.

  8. beththeserf says:

    Won’t be worrying too much about sea level rise.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    THE big fallacy in using tide gauges to measure sea level rise is the idea that the basin is constant.

    It is anything BUT constant. It dropped 9 feet in the region of Indonesia when they had their 9 quake. Hawaii grows giant mountains in it (that then erode to sediment filling it in.) And who knows how much other underwater volcanoes are adding. The thin skin of rock over the ocean floor buckles and bends, then eventually slides under a continent to become mantle again. Look at California. The entire Coast Range of mountains is basically ocean bottom gunk that got scraped off the slab of rock being subducted and piled up as mountains. A chunk down near Northridge rose a few feet in their big quake a few years ago.

    Then look at the Mississippi Delta. All that is dirt washed down from the center of the continent. It spreads out for miles in the Gulf of Mexico. A gigantic wad of “stuff” displacing water.

    So in the face of all that happening all the time, and essentially ignoring (or having the gall to think it can be ‘adjusted’ out) the way shoreline elevations and tides change, some jerk thinks averaging tide gauges is going to say something about ice volume on the ends of the planet.

    @David A:

    Yeah, “It’s a Big O!” as in O-h My God!!!


    2 points:

    On the hot lava: I wonder when (or if it is already?) it is hot enough to melt the rocks through which it is flowing. Is it possible for the main lava pipe to see the rise and 90 degree right turn to an outlet and slowly melt that corner out of the way and then make a more gentle line right up to the “leak”? Essentially, once you have 4000 ft. of stand pipe and that much hydraulic pressure holding the lava in so it doesn’t all rush out: WHEN you get a ‘big enough’ flow out a place 4000 ft. lower and the flow gets going fast, can it get hot enough to melt a relocation of the feed pipe underground?

    Clearly at some point the “hot spot” relocates the main volcano to a new spot. This happens in fairly large steps (we don’t have a steady ridge of volcanic origin from one end of the island chain to the other, but “steps” of volcano-jump-volcano-jump-volcano… There’s a new island in the process of becoming just off shore of Hawaii Big Island so to some extent the “jump” is underway. BUT the Big Island is made of 5 volcanoes as it stands. Most active on this currently active side, but not fully dead yet on the other side.

    So my surmise is that the “center of activity of the hot spot” is likely just straight down from where the fissure is letting the lava out; but the lava is traveling NE as it rises to the “old” Kilauea vent then through a crack (fissure) back to where it gets out at lower back pressure more or less over the origin of deep rising flow. To the extent that is true (and I think the off shore new volcano says the hotspot is there) then there is “incentive” for the very hot lava to erode a straighter and faster channel to this leak at the low back pressure outlet..

    At some point something very much like that had to happen as Mauna Kea shifted most active status to Mauna Loa that has since shifted it to Kilauea, so the process ought to continue. Just “how soon”?

    I suspect most folks can’t take a 1000 year viewpoint on things like geology and realize that if the volcano covered 1/4 of the island in molten rock some xx thousands of years ago, it can certainly well do it again without asking our opinion first.

    IMHO, ANY eruption at low elevation on Hawaii can be the start of a brand new volcano that continuously erupts until it has built a mountain 4000 ft. tall and the back pressure of that standing column becomes enough to halt significant further flow.

  10. u.k.(us) says:

    Finally, somebody that ain’t afraid to say, this is a steep learning curve for all of us.

  11. p.g.sharrow says:

    The fountains of lava at fracture #8 that were down to 100 feet elevation over ground level 2 days ago are back up to 200 feet over ground level today. I am beginning to see quakes at 5 miles deep and further seaward from the rift. Before the quakes were within the rift area and a bit shallower at 3-4 miles. There seems to be opinions that the flow from deep below are increasing, temperature and fluidity are increasing. This may last for some time.
    A weak sun seems to result in greater earth movements, Weak magnetic fields allow greater magma movements. Likely, greater fluidity due to reduced magnetic binding of it’s constituents, Also changes in the Earth’s shape as well..,pg.

  12. Power Grab says:

    “Also changes in the Earth’s shape as well..,pg.”

    I had wondered about that. What else can you add on that subject?


  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    Not sure magnetic binding of is constituents is an issue. I believe magma is above the curie point and therefore non-magnetic. The earths magnetism is generated by the motion of a conductor (the metallic magma) but is should have no magnetic field of its own only the impressed magnetic field caused by motion of a conductor with current flowing through it. Which raises the question where do the electrical currents involved originate? Solar wind impacting the atmosphere, atmospheric discharge from lightning etc.?

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Earth is a sphere because the gravity of It’s mass rounds it, But!
    It is a spheroid because the forces of it’s spin makes the Equator bulge out about 300 miles larger in diameter then the polar diameter, But!
    The Earth’s magnetic field of North, South, causes warpage, in the northern latitudes and out in the southern latitudes about 11 feet in or out resulting in an oblate-spheroid or egg shape.
    The Earth’s surface magnetic fields are caused by local crustal materials and magma circulations below as well the field energies of the Sun The overall Magnetic field that a compass follows is the average of the local fields. Continental drift is the result of all this as the floating land masses slowly slide down hill under the influence of all these forces…pg

  15. p.g.sharrow says:

    It seems that the curie point increases with pressure. Look at the Sun’s magnetic field.
    The main field energy originates with the Sun.
    The LavaLamp like circulations of energy and material create motor like lobes of electrical currents that interact with the Suns magnetic fields. Remember material in motion causes energy fields in motion. Energy fields in motion causes materials to be in motion.

  16. David A says:

    All that mantle movement, and some folk wonder why rational people say “GRACE” is of very limited use.

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    On the experiments to create a lab sized model of the earth’s circulation

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