Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hawaii Volcano Update: Active Eruptions Of Lava And Gas Continue, Fears Of Tsunami Due To Massive Unstable Landmass

"This Is As Bad As It Gets" - Magma Flowing From Hawaii's Kilauea Forces Thousands To Flee

After first erupting on Thursday, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has continued to send molten magma up through the eight fissures that have now opened up in the ground in a part of Hawaii that is home to several ritzy neighborhoods, including the tony Leilani Estates, where residents have been forced to flee as the eruptions, as well as several powerful earthquakes, have destroyed power lines and disrupted and left parts of the surrounding area without water.
One area resident summed up the neighborhood's plight in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
"This is as bad as it gets," said John Bennett, 61, a resident of the Leilani Estates neighborhood forced to evacuate. "We can't go back in yet. I feel lost. I don't know what to think. I've never been in this situation before."
The estimated 1,800 people who live in the affected area have sought temporary respite in government shelters. Others have moved in friends on other islands. 
At least nine house have been destroyed in Leilani Estates a the fissures have continued to spew lava through the lower Puna subdivision, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Some have said they don't know whether the pets that they left behind will survive the natural disaster, according to the Washington Post. 
Bennett, the man quoted above, said the eruption took him by surprise. He first learned what was happening when he came home Thursday and noticed that a fissure had opened up in his front yard.

Two new cracks in the ground began spewing lava from the volcano Saturday, emitting a toxic gas that further compounded the danger to residents, according to USGS.

Active eruption of lava and gas continues along Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone within the Leilani Estates subdivision. Additional fissure vents producing spatter and small lava flows developed early this morning, and additional outbreaks in the area are likely. Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and the lava lake level continues to drop. There is no active lava in the Puʻu ʻŌʻō area. Aftershocks from yesterday's M6.9 earthquake continue and more should be expected, with larger aftershocks potentially producing rockfalls and associated ash clouds above Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

By late Saturday afternoon local time, magma was only flowing through fissure No. 7 - but that fissure alone was producing enough lava to continue threatening the surrounding area, said USGS volcano scientist Wendy Stovall.

Since the eruption Thursday, quakes have been shaking the island at regular intervals. The island has also endured two particularly large quakes: A 5.6-magnitude quake hit south of the volcano, which was followed by a 6.9 magnitude quake.
The latter quake was felt as far away as Oahu, and it also struck in nearly the exact same place as a deadly 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1975.
What's worse, the gas flowing up through the fissures is making the area even more hazardous to people living in the area.

"The sulfur dioxide gas is very intense" and a "dangerous hazard in the area," Stovall said. "This is a continually evolving situation."

Geologists from the USGS said the quakes around Puna most closely resemble the events that precipitated a 1955 eruption. That eruption lasted about three months and left almost 4,000 acres of land covered in lava.

Scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have contacted me regarding a staggering development taking place right now during the eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii:  
An area of land on the south flank of the volcano known as the "Hilina Slump" - about the size of Manhattan - is moving and could BREAK OFF into the ocean, sending a Tsunami toward the west coast with 100+ foot waves moving at 500 miles per hour.  Cities like San Diego, Los Angeles and others could be wiped off the face of the earth. 
As most of the civilized world knows by now, the Kilauea volcano on the south side of Hawaii's big island, began erupting earlier this week. 
Prior to the appearance of lava at the surface, hundreds of small earthquakes were felt.  Then the quakes got bigger.  A magnitude 5.6 struck Thursday evening and a strong Magnitude 6.9 was a sort of announcement by the volcano that it was time to blast off.   This map from the USGS web site, shows the location of the Magnitude 6.9 quake and the rings indicate how far away the quake was felt:

While all this shaking and spewing is taking place, the land atop all this lava activity is literally moving toward the ocean.  Specifically, an area of land about the size of Manhattan in New York City, called the "Hilina Slump" is not only moving, deep cracks are appearing which SOME geologists fear are indications the Hilina Slump is going to BREAK OFF of the island, and fall into the ocean in one giant splash.

The Hilina Slump is an area of about 5,000 cubic miles of dirt and rock.  If it breaks off and slides into the ocean (as has happened 60 times in the past elsewhere in the Hawaiian islands) a Pacific-wide-Tsunami would be generated, hitting the U.S. west coast with waves over 100 feet tall moving at 500 miles per hour. 

This is a geological map of the Kilauea Volcano showing the Hilina Slump:

Today, geologists are saying that seismic and tectonic forces are creating the potential for a similar disaster on the southeast shore of the big island of Hawaii, near Kilauea volcano. The world's most active volcano, Kilauea is continually growing larger. At the same time, its seaward flank is moving toward the Pacific, currently at the rate of about 10 centimeters per year. Kilauea's movement takes several forms. Layers of lava and sediment atop the mountain are pulled down by the force of gravity. The entire mountain itself also moves slowly out to sea as magma derived from deep within the earth's mantle intrudes into the core of the volcano.
"From previous studies, we know that Kilauea is the site of an active landslide, the Hilina slump, which has moved in historic times," said Julia Morgan, assistant professor of Earth Science at Rice University in 2003. "We now recognize that Kilauea also experienced a catastrophic landslide in the past, possibly within 25,000-50,000 years, which is quite recent in geologic terms."

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