If there’s one positive from this story it’s that the advent of drone technology has been very helpful in helping scientists evalulate the situation at Kilauea and anticipate what’s going to happen next. The bad news is that the recent drone footage scientists observed of the volcano’s crater indicates that something very, very bad is on its way.
Basically, the new footage shows that one of Kilauea’s main craters has developed alarming new cracks, some of which are spewing out some pretty intense steam. They’re worried that the collapsed crater, along with the debris blocking the vent could trigger a huge explosion.
From the Daily Express:
The Halema‘uma‘u crater has undergone a sudden transformation since the eruptions began in early May, including the surprising disappearance of a lava lake.
The drone footage from the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows “yellow sulfur substance on the rubble-covered floor and a scattering of large ballistic blocks around the crater rim”.
USGS officials revealed that the empty vent once housed a 12-acre lava lake up until a few weeks ago.
The vent is currently empty of lava and has been stretched to massive 100-acres.
The boulders blocking the crater’s eruptive vent have stopped huge clouds of ash emerging, but the consequences are unknown.
Kyle Anderson, a geophysicist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said experts are uncertain whether this could end eruptions or cause another bigger explosion.
He said: “We really don’t know the implications of this long-term.
“It’s possible that new explosions will blast through the rubble at the bottom of the vent.
“These may or may not be larger than the previous explosions.
“It is also possible that the vent may become permanently blocked, ending the explosions entirely.”
The depth of the crater is not yet known.
This comes as vulcanologists showed that the month-old eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island has entered a new, quieter calmer phase inside the crater.
We certainly hope that this is a sign of things calming down on the island, but only time will tell.
We’ll update this story as new information comes becomes available.