Saturday, May 26, 2018

Kilauea Updates: More Evacuations Ordered, East Rift Zone Eruption Sustains Lava Flows And Ocean Entries

Firefighters went door-to-door urging some residents of Leilani Estates on Hawaii's Big Island to leave as lava from the Kilauea volcano continued to flow, threatening more homes.
"Any residents remaining in the current affected areas should evacuate now," said an emergency message from the Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Thick waves of fresh lava from fissure 22 and 7 -- which officials say are producing the largest amount of lava -- are blazing down a mound of volcanic rock. 
"It's just a matter of time," resident Steve Gebbie says. "I don't know what's going to be left of Leilani, I really think it might be wiped out."

On Saturday, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said lava into the subdivision had slowed. Lava continued to enter the Pacific Ocean near MacKenzie State Park.
A series of volcanic explosions occurred Saturday morning, according to a tweet from USGS Volcanoes. The explosions produced an ash cloud that rose up to 11,000 feet above sea level, the National Weather Service said. Smaller explosions occurred overnight. Moderate winds were blowing to the southwest, and light ash was likely to fall downwind.
Earlier this week, eruptions sent ash plume 10,000 feet up in the air. More red and orange lava fountains emerged and lava reached the Pacific Ocean, presenting a new threat for residents.
The oozing lava has destroyed 82 structures on the Big Island, and another 37 structures have become inaccessible in the last days, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.

About 2,200 acres have been covered in lava since the Kilauea volcano eruptions began May 3, Magno said.
The US Geological Survey said there were 90 earthquakes of multiple intensities at the volcano summit in about six hours Friday. Earthquakes continued at a moderate rate overnight.

Eruption of lava continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, at the lower part of Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. On Saturday morning 26 May (local time) HVO/USGS report that fissure 22 continues to erupt lava that is flowing southeast to the coast and which feeds the first lava ocean entry. Fountains at fissures 6 and 13 also continue to feed lava into a channel that reaches the coast which formed a second ocean entry a few days ago. 

Meanwhile fissures 7 and 21 are feeding a perched lava pond and pāhoehoe flow that has advanced north-eastward covering most of the area between Kaupili and Mohala Streets. The flow front has become an 'A'ā flow and is advancing slowly toward Pahoa Pohoiki Road. 

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions as magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther down rift in the past few days and the number of located earthquakes remains low.

Kilauea’s summit caldera area was the scene of larger ash explosions and increased seismic activity. Multiple small explosions occurred throughout Friday 25 May which ejected ash plumes to under 3050 m (10,000 ft) above sea level. A larger explosion occurred at 4h17 pm local time which produced and ash plume as high as 3660 m (12,000 ft) above sea level. There were many earthquakes in the summit area during Friday 25 May, with 8 earthquakes greater than M3. The largest of which was M3.99 and located just north of Halema`uma`u crater. Many more small quakes occurred between the larger events. Both earthquakes and ash explosions are occurring as the summit area subsides and adjusts to the withdrawal of magma

Magma spewed from 100ft (30-metre) cinder cones and formed elevated ponds of molten rock that were expected to soon overflow and stream into the next rows of homes – Kahukai and Mohala streets. Firefighters went door to door evacuating residents before the lava arrived.
“It’s this tide of lava that rises up and overflows itself on the edges and keeps rising and progressing forward,” US Geological Survey geologist Wendy Stovall said.
About 37 structures are already “lava locked”, meaning homes are inaccessible, and people who do not evacuate may be trapped.
“Any residents remaining in the current affected areas should evacuate now,” Hawaii County Civil Defense said in an alert.
Magma is draining underground from a sinking lava lake at Kilauea’s 4,091ft (1,247-metre) summit before flowing about 25 miles (40km) east and bursting from giant cracks, with two flows reaching the ocean just over three miles (5km) away.

Also from CBS News, they are reporting the following disturbing developments:
A 4.4-magnitude earthquake struck Hawaii’s Big Island Friday near the summit of Kilauea voclano, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the largest of several quakes that struck Friday. The tremor did not generate a tsunami, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center told CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB. 
The agency says the island doesn’t face a tsunami threat after the temblor struck around 12:44 p.m. Friday. County officials have warned of aftershocks. 
An earthquake at 6 p.m. Thursday sent an ash cloud 10,000 feet into the air, the USGS said. 
The Kilauea volcano has been erupting for three weeks, spewing lava from cracks that emerged in neighborhoods and sending ash sky-high from its summit. Earthquakes also have been occurring.

“Earthquake” activity is the operative term. Lori Dengler is an emeritus professor of geology at Humboldt State University. Dangler is considered to be an expert in tsunami and earthquake hazards. Dangler has stated that the earthquake activity is still elevated over expected levels and dangerous magma is still migrating to the east and there is a major fear that groundwater could flow into the magma conduit and the potential for steam-driven explosions could set off the volcano and it could erupt on an epic scale. Toxic gasses are a major concern as the fissures are expanding and this precisely what killed the majority of the people at Pompeii.
The aformentioned earthquakes mentioned by Dangler has sparked concerns over pending tsunamis.
Again, from the Guardian article referenced above:
“Several volcanic earthquakes strike near Kilauea’s summit as officials add tsunamis to the list of threats posed by ongoing eruptions on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Several earthquakes struck near the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Thursday and Friday, officials say…
Volcano-related earthquakes have caused cracks to open up across the Big Island’s southeastern region…
Geologists have said after three weeks of escalating activity, Kilauea has entered a ‘steady state’ of eruption”.
HAWAII volcano Kilauea’s unstoppable eruption is triggering earthquakes that could become “more frequent” and could cause a tsunami, experts have warned.

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