The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been doing an utterly stellar job keeping an eye on the ongoing, ever-evolving eruption at Kilauea, involving both explosive summit events and the continual effusion of lava along its flanks in the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ). From drone footage of the last fissure standing – number 8 – to geologists going up and poking the lava itself with a shovel, they’ve got you covered.
Lately, they’ve been summarizing events. As a recent infographic revealed back on June 5, 30 days after this particular eruption began, about 20 square kilometers (7.7 square miles) of Big Island had been covered in lava, emitted at different times from 24 fissure vents.
This sounds like a lot, but it’s worth remembering the eruption is only happening in one corner of the island. The “Big” in Big Island isn’t an understatement: it’s about 10,430 square kilometers (4,027 square miles) in size, which means that the aforementioned lava has only covered 0.2 percent of it.
Saying that, the USGS noted that in the past millennium, 90 percent of the island’s Kilauea volcano has been covered by lava flows. It can’t be understated that this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the world’s most active volcano, with the current eruption period starting back in 1983, featuring a (now-drained) lava lake and the occasional overflow and lava outbreak.
The most interesting factoids, however, have just been released.