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.
"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."