POSTED: Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kilauea rocks and shocks as crater floor drops

A loud boom across Kilauea Volcano's caldera area Tuesday afternoon followed a major collapse of the summit vent, the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported.

Shaking was felt at the Jaggar Museum and by scientists in the field, said Janet Babb, geologist and observatory spokeswoman.

The 1:38 p.m. collapse triggered a dark brown plume of ash and lava rock and many small earthquakes. Part of Halemaumau Crater's floor collapsed between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., the observatory said.

Episodic tremors also picked up Tuesday afternoon and throughout the night, “;with tremor bursts at 15-minute intervals accompanied by numerous small earthquakes,”; it said.

The earthquakes continued to increase yesterday morning to about six times the levels before the collapse, the observatory said. More than 30 earthquakes were located within 24 hours beneath the caldera, most at shallow levels, according to the report. A magnitude 3.0 earthquake Tuesday was felt on the Big Island and on parts of Maui, it said.


3 of hospital's flu-hit staff recover, 2 others improve

Three of five nurses and doctors at the Queen's Medical Center who tested positive for swine flu have recovered and returned to work, says Cindy Kamikawa, vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer.

The other two are home recovering from the virus, she said.

The medical center had said earlier that “;several”; staff members tested positive for the swine flu but didn't give a number. It takes seven to nine days to get test results from the Health Department's Laboratories Division so it's “;an ever-changing number,”; a spokeswoman explained.