AuthorTopic: The Toba Memorial Volcano Thread  (Read 19349 times)

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🌋 Eruption could hurl Rocks the size of Cows
« Reply #150 on: May 11, 2018, 05:12:18 AM »

Eruption could hurl Rocks the size of Cows

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🌋 ‘Shell-Shocked’ in Hawaii: How Lava Overran a Neighborhood
« Reply #151 on: May 12, 2018, 03:10:11 AM »

‘Shell-Shocked’ in Hawaii: How
Lava Overran a Neighborhood


of Hawaii




The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island unleashed havoc when the earth split open, lava spewed hundreds of feet into the air and molten rock swallowed streets in a residential neighborhood.

In the days since the eruptions began, 1,700 people have been evacuated, and many homes have been consumed by fire.

The fissures have cut a swath across
the Leilani Estates subdivision.


lanipuna gardens

Areas covered by lava

Leilani Estates

Where fissures have opened up

Area of





Source: Imagery via DigitalGlobe; lava and fissure locations from the County of Hawaii | Note: Lava area and fissures through May 10.

Since eruptions in the Leilani Estates neighborhood began on May 3, the flows of lava have destroyed 36 structures as of Friday — at least 26 of them homes — and covered 117 acres. The fissures across the neighborhood have also been emitting dangerous sulfur dioxide gases, local authorities said.

About 25 miles away from the neighborhood, the island is on alert for the possibility of a explosive eruption in coming days or weeks at Kilauea volcano’s summit, which could launch 10- to 12-ton boulders within a half-mile radius.

As of Friday, 15 separate fissures have opened up in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens area. No deaths or injuries have been recorded so far.

Fountains of lava spurting more than 100 feet into the air along a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii, on May 6. Bruce Omori/EPA, via Shutterstock

“I don’t think anyone thought it would be a reality,” said Heath Dalton, a resident of Leilani Estates. “They know it was coming, I just don’t think anybody ever thought it would be in their lifetime.”

On May 4, Mr. Dalton was packing up some belongings to evacuate the neighborhood when he could see a fissure just a block away from his house. He said the rupture sounded like a jet engine as it exploded with bright red lava. When he returned the next day to save more of his family’s possessions, he found his home in flames.

Though the neighborhood had been evacuated, residents have been frantically trying to gather their belongings, when permitted by authorities.


The island of Hawaii is

made up of five volcanoes.

Four of them are active.



Mauna Kea

Last eruption at least

4,500 years ago


Last eruption

in 1801



of hawaii

Kilauea summit

and lava lake

Mauna Loa

Last eruption in 1984

Pu’u O’o

Pacific Ocean




Erupting since 1983

20 miles

For 35 years, Kilauea has been erupting almost continuously, according to the United States Geological Survey. The volcano takes up the entire southeast portion of the island of Hawaii. Because of that, residents of Leilani Estates — though living in Hazard Zone 1, an area most at risk from lava flows — have often been miles away from danger.

“You’re in Lava Zone 1, so it’s always in your head that it could happen. But for the last 30 years, it’s been flowing down to Kalapana. Then in 2014, it almost cut Pahoa in half,” Mr. Dalton said.

Kalapana is a small town resting on top of a lava field about 10 miles southwest of Leilani Estates. Pahoa, much closer, is only about two miles to the north.

On May 6, a lava flow moved across Makamae Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii. United States Geological Survey, via Associated Press

“I never thought I’d ever be faced with this, I’m just shell-shocked,” said Carl Yoshimoto, 69, who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years and left his home in a “mad scramble,” grabbing his wallet, medications and important paperwork. “The local people just kind of take it as something you live with.”

There have been three lava flows in
the Leilani Estates area since 1790.

The most recent eruption near the Leilani Estates area was in 1955, before subdivisions were built in the area. The volcano had long been dormant, until its eruption forced villagers in the area to flee.

Lavaflow from1790 eruption






Source: Historic lava flows from the United States Geological Survey | Note: Lava areas for 2018 are through May 10

The construction of Leilani Estates was approved in 1960, according to Daryn Arai, deputy planning director at the Hawaii County Planning Department, and about 1,600 people live in the neighborhood today. It’s a rural neighborhood that has offered relatively affordable homes, in contrast with Hawaii’s more expensive real estate on Oahu and Maui.

Despite the neighborhood’s position in an area where lava flows are most likely to occur on the island, there are no building restrictions, Mr. Arai said.

Kilauea is a long, shallow volcano,
stretching across the southeast
portion of the Big Island.

Kilauea is known as a “shield” volcano because its gentle slopes resemble those of a shield lying on the ground. The initial eruptions in Leilani Estates are about 15 miles from the Pu’u O’o crater, a primary vent of Kilauea, and about 25 miles from the peak of the volcano.

As the surface of the lava lake at the summit has receded, it has forced molten rock underground to travel through conduits and erupt miles away. Hundreds of earthquakes have registered on the island in recent days, including one with a magnitude of 6.9 on May 4.



Ola’a Forest Reserve

Hawaiian Acres



Lanipula Gardens

Leilani Estates

Puna Forest Reserve

Lava began erupting

through fissures on May 3

Ash plume began

rising from Pu’u O’o

crater after it collapsed last week

The surface of the lava lake receded at Kilauea volcano’s summit


Pacific Ocean

Hawaii Volcanoes

National Park

Area of




5 miles

Mauna Kea


Mauna Loa



volcano summit

Pacific Ocean






of hawaii

Previous lava


Area shown


Scientists said that as the surface of the lava pool at the volcano’s summit recedes, it could cause rocks from the crater to fall into the opening where the lava levels have dropped. The hot rocks would then interact with groundwater, causing steam pressure to build up and eventually releasing a larger explosion at the summit. The diagram below outlines this process.

How a steam-driven explosion at Kilauea’s summit could happen








Rocks fall into the vent, blocking the opening where the lava has receded.

Water interacts with the lava, creating lots of steam. Pressure builds up until it explodes.

The surface of the lava lake drops below the water table.

The New York Times

In a call with journalists on May 9, Don Swanson, a geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, explained that an eruption at the summit carried a range of risks. He said that 10- to 12-ton boulders could be flung within about half a mile of the summit, marble-size rocks could reach within about 10 miles and snow-like ash could spread about 20 miles downwind.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed indefinitely on Thursday. The potential steam-driven explosion is not expected to be life-threatening, but a “nuisance event,” Mr. Swanson said.

The string of eruptions at Leilani Estates seemed to have paused on Friday, but authorities said that new fissures and eruptions are likely to continue east of the neighborhood where earthquakes have registered in the past two days.

After the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on May 5, lava bubbled from a new fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Getty Images

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🌋 Once the lava stops, rebuilding and futures uncertain in Hawaii
« Reply #152 on: May 13, 2018, 01:43:18 AM »

Once the lava stops, rebuilding and futures uncertain in Hawaii
"Fingers crossed," said one woman who evacuated the lava zone, and hopes her home remains standing.
by Phil Helsel and Erin Calabrese / May.12.2018 / 2:13 PM ET

A lava flow moves along Makamae Street in Leilani Estates in Leilani Estates, Hawaii on May 6, 2018.US Geological Survey / AFP - Getty Images

The sound of eruptions from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano rang through the air as Leilani Abaya gathered her belongings to flee the volcanic activity and lava that has destroyed more than two dozen homes.

"We had trash bags and we were just, you know, literally grabbing anything and everything that was the most important to us at that time," Abaya, a mother of two, said Wednesday. She has lived in Leilani Estates on Hawaii's Big Island for about six months and joined nearly 2,000 others who have been ordered to evacuate.

"There was a few times while we were down there where the sounds coming from the eruption was so enormous that it just stopped all of us that was there in our tracks," she said.

The erupting Kilauea volcano has been spewing lava for more than a week, and the island suffered a series of earthquakes that included a strong 6.9-magnitude temblor on May 4. A total of 36 structures, at least 27 of which were homes, have been destroyed, officials said.

President Donald Trump on Friday approved a major disaster declaration ordering federal assistance to be provided for recovery efforts. Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the help would go toward public facilities such as roads, public parks, schools and water pipes damaged in the eruption or earthquakes.
New concerns over more eruptions at Hawaii volcano

Lava from the volcano, which has been erupting since 1983, has reshaped the landscape, adding more than 443 acres of land to Kilauea's southeastern shore as of the end of 2016, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

But whether the area affected by the current activity can be rebuilt remains uncertain.

"We really don't know the extent of the damage and whether or not people can actually rebuild," Hawaii state Rep. Joy A. San Buenaventura, who represents the Puna district where Leilani Estates is located, told NBC News Thursday. Another question, she said, "is whether or not you should rebuild" in areas more likely to see lava flows.

The current eruptive period is not over. The USGS warns Kilauea could see explosive eruptions in the coming days or weeks that throw "ballistic blocks" for a half-mile or more. A geothermal plant is threatened and residents of Lower Puna have been advised to be ready to leave.

On Saturday a new fissure, the 16th, opened in the area, though no significant lava flow from that fissure had been detected, the USGS said. "Conditions could change quickly," the agency said.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could spew boulders the size of refrigerators for miles

The area affected by fissures and lava have occurred in lava-flow hazard zone 1, or the area that the USGS says has the highest likelihood of experiencing lava flows; zone 2 could also be affected before the current eruption ends, Janet Babb, a geologist with the agency's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said. There are nine zones on the Big Island in all, with zone 9 having the least risk.

Lava flows approached the nearby town of Pahoa in 2014, and threatened to cover the main Highway 130. The lava changed direction and did not go onto the highway.
Watch Hawaiian lava flow that has displaced thousands

The lava cools to rock, and it isn't always cleared: When a section of the scenic Chain of Craters Road in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was buried by lava in the 1980s, it stayed blocked until 2014 when a 5-mile section was bulldozed as an emergency access road to connect Kalapana in case it was cut off. (The iconic "road closed" sign sticking up from the hardened lava was removed and saved.) But a section of that road was covered in lava again in 2016.

Sections of cooled lava were cleared from a transfer station in Pahoa after the 2014 flow, and hardened rock was removed from Cemetery Road in 2015, despite the covered road reportedly becoming a tourist attraction.

"It's hard, and it builds up very, very high," said Carolyn Loeffler, owner of Loeffler Construction in Hilo, which did not do work on the areas affected by the 2014 flow. "You generally need hydraulic hammers attached to your equipment," she said.

Building on areas affected by lava flows on Hawaii have to go through a review and permitting process to ensure that building is safe, said Barett Otani, information and education specialist for the Hawaii County Department of Public Works.

Lava engulfed the community of Kalapana, which is southwest of Leilani Estates and near Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, in 1990. The lava flow buried 100 homes, as well as some other structures, beneath 50 to 80 feet of lava, according to the USGS.

But by 2012, people had returned and new homes had been built in Kalapana Gardens. Honolulu magazine spoke with residents therethat year, including Kent Napper and Nancy Lowe, who built a small two-story house there. "Where else in Hawaii can you buy land with an ocean view like this for $10,000?" they told the publication.
Image: Image: Chris Adkins
Chris Adkins unloads gravel to help smooth out the path between the road and his new home in Kalapana, Hawaii. Once a thriving fishing village, Kalapana was buried under lava from Kilauea in the 1980s and 90s. Adkins says the lava on his lot last flowed in 2011.Jim Seida / NBC News file

In 2014, NBC News spoke to Chris Adkins, a tax return examiner in Hilo, who was building a home on a lava field in Kalapana. He bought a 0.6-acre lot for $6,500. "I'll have no mortgage, no homeowner's association. It's all a matter of perspective," he said then.

Herman Ludwig, owner of Ludwig Construction in Hilo, whose company cleared hardened lava from the area around the transfer station affected in 2014, said that the hardened lava left behind requires heavy equipment, but is little different than removing other types of rock.

"Most of our island is like that," Ludwig said. One can build houses on the rock left behind, "but the lava might come back again," he said.

No state highways have been covered by the lava flow in the current eruption, but Highway 130 was closed in the area due to cracking, state Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara said. If roads are covered by lava flow, crews decide whether to go through, over or around the rock left behind, he said.
A man watches as lava spews from a fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision on Friday.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Homeowner and renter's insurance should cover damage caused by fires caused by the heat from lava, the same way that those policies cover fire from any other cause, insurance experts said.

Lava-caused property damage is usually attributed to fire, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. If the damage is from the earthquake, homeowners and renters would likely need earthquake coverage. Vehicles are covered if the insured has purchased optional comprehensive coverage, the group says.

"In the past situations [with] the lava flow, there has been coverage provided" under fire coverage, Hawaii Insurance Commissioner Gordon I. Ito said. He and the state insurance department are urging people to contact their insurance providers to check on coverage.
Image: Lava from a fissure slowly advances to the northeast on Hookapu Street after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano
Lava from a fissure slowly advances to the northeast on Hookapu Street after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 5, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii.U.S. Geological Survey / via Getty Images

Nearly 300 people and dozens of pets remain at two American Red Cross of Hawaii emergency shelters, NBC affiliate KHNL reported, and those displaced face the challenge of finding temporary housing and driving hours out of their way.

Abaya, who fled her home in Leilani Estates, was unable to get renters insurance from three different companies because the area is in lava zone 1. The home where she and her family were staying is so far still standing, she said.

"I feel like we're coming to terms that, you know, that house may be taken and you know that we definitely need to restart our lives," Abaya said this week.

The family was staying in Oceanside, about two-and-a-half hours away, on Friday but Abaya and her 6-year-old son planned to stay in a tent on a friend's property in Hilo — he goes to school in Hilo, and she works at the University of Hawaii in Hilo.

"Fingers crossed," she said.

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Not a good month to be living on the Big Island.


Hawaii issues warning for 'explosive eruption' of volcano as 18th fissure opens

    By Mark Osborne

May 14, 2018, 2:17 AM ET

PHOTO: Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, May 13, 2018.
Terray Sylvester/Reuters
WatchAt least two new fissures opening in Hawaii


An 18th fissure began spewing magma on Sunday as officials in Hawaii warned of the possibility for an "explosive eruption" as lava continues to withdraw from the summit lake at Kilauea.
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Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency announced an 18th fissure had opened Sunday on private property in the Lanipuna Gardens neighborhood. Overhead video showed homes just a short distance from where the earth had cracked open.

"Continued earthquake activity and additional outbreaks in the area are likely," the Civil Defense Agency warned in its 6 p.m. local time (midnight Eastern time) update.

Hannique Ruder, a 65-year-old resident living in the Leilani Estates subdivision, walks past the mound of hardened lava while surveying the neighborhood Friday, May 11, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii.AP
Hannique Ruder, a 65-year-old resident living in the Leilani Estates subdivision, walks past the mound of hardened lava while surveying the neighborhood Friday, May 11, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii.
more +

Trump declares 'major disaster' in Hawaii following volcano's eruption

Volcano observatory warns of further 'explosive eruptions' in Hawaii

Lava flow intensifies in Hawaii eruptions, spews 200 feet in air

Two new fissures -- the 16th and 17th -- had cracked open during the day Saturday. Both fissures were located in the lower East Rift Zone, east of the Puna Geothermal energy plant and northeast of homes in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

The Kilauea volcano first erupted April 3, sending toxic gases into the Big Island's atmosphere and eventually leading to more than a dozen cracks opening in the neighborhoods of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated from the neighborhoods last week.

PHOTO: Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, May 13, 2018. Terray Sylvester/Reuters
Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, May 13, 2018.
more +

In this Friday, May 11, 2018 photo released by the U.S. Geological Survey, an ash plume rises from the Overlook Vent in Halemaumau crater of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.AP
In this Friday, May 11, 2018 photo released by the U.S. Geological Survey, an ash plume rises from the Overlook Vent in Halema'uma'u crater of the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
more +

Vacation rentals in lower Puna were asked to "cease operations to relieve the demand for water" and in order to decrease the number of residents in the area.

Officials already said last week they had moved flammables from Puna Geothermal uphill in case anything starts flowing near them.

The agency said activity from the 16th fissure, which is located in a mostly forested region away from homes, was "minor" and "no significant lava flow was issued from this area."

SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS: Hawaii volcano emits hazardous gases and flowing lava
more +

In addition to the new fissures, officials with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory were concerned another volcanic eruption could occur on Kilauea.

"HVO has cautioned about the possibility of an explosive eruption at Halema’uma’u Crater due to the ongoing withdrawal of lava from Kilauea summit lake," the Civil Defense Agency said in a statement. "This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind."

The agency warned previously that boulders the size of refrigerators could be launched from the crater should another eruption take place.

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii on Friday in order to open up federal funding for those on the island affected by the volcano's eruption.

At least 35 structures, including two dozen homes, have been destroyed since the beginning of the volcanic activity 10 days ago.

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🌋 Ashfall advisory extended as Kilauea’s summit crater keeps pumping
« Reply #154 on: May 16, 2018, 02:57:08 AM »

Ashfall advisory extended as Kilauea’s summit crater keeps pumping
By Kevin Dayton
May 15, 2018
Updated May 15, 2018 7:10pm


    A plume of ash was seen today above Halemaumau crater on Hawaii island.


    Spectators at the Volcano Golf and Country Club photograph the start of an ash plume billowing out of the Halemaumau crater today. The forboding plumes develop when rocks drop into lava and explode from intense heat.


    Roland Ellithorpe, 4, runs as an ash plume billows out of Halemaumau crater today. The plumes, located within the Kilauea caldera, occur when rocks drop into lava and explode from intense heat.


    Civil Air Patrol flight at 11:43 a.m. reported ash plume tops at 9,500 feet elevation with the dispersed plume up to 11,000 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Ashfall from the plume is falling on Hawaii island communities downwind.

1 / 5

UPDATE: 7:20 p.m.

The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency responded tonight to a rumor about a possible tsunami.

The agency noted that “according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory there is no geologic evidence for an tsunami-generating earthquake at this time. Any such event is extremely unlikely.”

The Civil Defense has received inquiries from media and the public asking about the potential for a tsunami.

HVO, Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and other state and federal partners continue to monitor volcanic and seismic activity.

6:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service has extended the ashfall advisory for areas of the Big Island until 8 a.m. Wednesday as the Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea’s summit continues to intermittently emit huge plumes of ash.

The volcanic ash is expected to reach the region to the southwest including Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates.

Ash accumulation up to a quarter-inch is expected to be deposited in the advisory areas, forecasters said.

Trade winds are expected to weaken tonight into Wednesday, then become breezy again from Thursday into the weekend, they said.

The weather service said the advisory may need to be extended depending on conditions and warns that the ash may cause eye and respiratory irritation. Anyone in the advisory areas with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling the ash particles and everyone outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth, officials said.

Earlier this afternoon, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a “notice for aviation” warning pilots that the ash plume rising from Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano has been reported as high as 12,000 feet and conditions could become “more explosive.”

Ash emissions “will likely be variable with periods of increased and decreased intensity depending on the occurrence of rockfalls into the vent and other changes within the vent. At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,” the HVO notice said.

HVO scientists this evening also reported that fissure No. 6, near Leilani Avenue and Pohoiki Road, has become active again, with lava fountaining and spatter seen about 4:45 p.m. The flow from fissure No. 17, meanwhile, has had little advancement since this morning after progressing toward Highway 137 at the start of the week.

For more information on the hazards of volcanic ash and vog, go to and

>> LIVE: Webcam images from Halemaumau at Kilauea
>> Ash plume heads to Pahala after rock falls, gas explosions in Halemaumau Crater
>> USGS Video: USGS Kilauea Volcano Update, May 15
>> Escape road threatened, geothermal wells to be killed as lava approaches
>> Officials seek to shore up Pahoa lifelines, Mayor Kim says
>> Tourism losses mount across the Big Island
>> Evacuees get a brief respite from Kilauea’s eruption
>> Video: Gov. David Ige gives May 14 Kilauea update
>> Photos: Residents prepare for the worst as more fissures open
>> Photos: Tourists stay despite eruption threats from Kilauea

Star-Advertiser volcano coverage
Kilauea Volcano YouTube playlist

5:45 p.m.

The Volcano School of Arts and Sciences will be closed Wednesday due to changes in the wind direction that could bring volcanic ash from Kilauea’s summit to the area.

The charter school in the town of Volcano is just a few miles from the summit crater.

School officials said a change in wind direction Wednesday “likely will result in dangerous driving conditions from ash fall … We fully anticipate being open on Thursday as the wind direction is expected to return to southwesterly trades blowing any ash or (sulfur dioxide) away from our campuses.”

Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater today was sending a large cloud of ash over parts of the Kau District in the southern area of the Big Island today.

3:45 p.m.

Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. officials are warning that the volcanic ash falling on parts of the southern Big Isle could lead to extended power interruptions.

Ash falling from increased eruptions from Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea has led to warnings to the public and pilots. The National Weather Service has issued an ashfall advisory until 6 p.m. warning that volcanic ash is expected to fall southwest of the summit, including on Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates.

“A combination of a light dusting of ash and moisture on utility insulators could result in electrical short circuits, which could cause power interruptions,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, Helco spokeswoman. “If this occurs, we are prepared to respond once it is safe for employees to work in the impacted area. While we have equipment that can wash off ash from utility equipment, this is the first experience we will have with widespread volcanic ash.”

She said extended power interruptions may occur if the ash fallout covers a large area or is very heavy and damages utility equipment.

During a power interruption, the company recommends that customers should:

>> Unplug sensitive electronic equipment and other appliances.

>> Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food that has been above 41 degrees F for more than two hours.

>> Those dependent on life support should make prior arrangements with a hospital or emergency facility.

2:45 p.m.

The state Department of Transportation has reopened Highway 130 in Lower Puna beyond Malama Street for residents only.

Hawaii County Civil Defense says that no large trailers or heavy equipment should be taken over the metal plates that have been placed over cracks in the road that have been caused by the volcanic activity .

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports a steady eruption of ash coming from Halemaumau Crater is causing ash to fall downwind across portions of Kau District. Ash is being reported along Highway 11 to Pahala.

2:15 p.m.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has issued a “notice for aviation” warning pilots that the ash plume rising from Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea volcano has been reported as high as 12,000 feet and conditions could become “more explosive.”

HVO has upgraded its aviation condition alert to red from orange.

The alert says, “As of early this morning, eruption of ash from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit has generally increased in intensity. Ash has been rising nearly continuously from the vent and drifting downwind to the southwest. Ashfall and vog (volcanic air pollution) has been reported in Pahala, about 18 miles downwind. (National Weather Service) radar and pilot reports indicate the top of the ash cloud is as high as 10,000 to 12,000 feet above sea level, but this may be expected to vary depending on the vigor of activity and wind conditions.”

HVO scientists warn that “at any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.”

They said while the ash cloud is drifting to the southwest with the trade winds, conditions are expected to change in the next 24 hours and other areas around Kilauea’s summit are likely to receive ashfall.

Ash has been reported falling today in Pahala and the Kau desert.

For more information on the hazards of volcanic ash and vog, go to and

>> RELATED VIDEO: Nearly 20 fissures open from Hawaii volcano (mobile app users, click here)


HILO >> The action at Kilauea volcano shifted mostly to the summit area today as rockfalls and gas explosions put on an impressive show at Halemaumau crater, sending a gray plume several thousand feet into the sky that sprinkled ash over roadways at the village of Pahala.

Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the vigor of the ash plumes in the crater “picked up a bit” today. The ash emissions became almost continuous, “with intermittent, more energetic ash bursts or plumes,” he said.

The trade winds from the northeast pushed most of the ash to the southwest. David Damby, a chemist and volcanologist with the USGS, said the ash is essentially “rock powder,” and is not poisonous.

“You just want to limit your exposure to it,” he said, because it can cause eye, nose and throat irritation.

As of 1 p.m. today, ash was being reported along Highway 11 to Pahala.

About 30 miles away at the Lower East Rift Zone of the volcano, fissure 18 generated a lava flow that moved toward the northeast and is now about 1 1/2 miles long. However, that rift has been adding “very little” new lava to the flow in recent hours, Brantley said.

“Field reports are that the flow moved about 1,200 feet in the past day, but it is not moving very much at the moment,” he said.

According to the HVO, the only fissure that remains active this afternoon is fissure 17, which has slowed considerably and is moving at a rate of about 20 yards per hour toward the ocean. As of 1 p.m., the lava flow was about 1.2 miles from Highway 137, with no homes or roads currently threatened.

Scientists also observed a small new fissure that opened just uprift of fissure 18 and released a small pad of lava, Brantley said. Earthquake activity suggests magma is still pushing its way into the area, he said.

“It’s slowed down in the past couple of days, but it’s still moving,” although the location of the earthquakes suggest the underground magma has not advanced much beyond fissure 18, Brantley said.

Ormat Technologies Inc., which owns the shuttered Puna Geothermal Venture plant on the East Rift Zone, issued a statement today that the steepest topographical paths that might be a route followed by lava “are around and away from the power plant in the direction of the ocean.

“This gives the company confidence that there is a low risk of surface lava impacting or making its way to the facility,” the statement said.

Isaac Angel, CEO of Ormat Technologies, said there has been no physical damage to the above-ground portions of the 38 megawatt plant yet, but a full assessment will have to wait until the situation stabilizes.

“We continue to monitor the situation in coordination with (Hawaii Electric Light Co.), and with local and state authorities. We expect to restore the Puna operations as soon as it is safe to do so,” Angel said in the statement.

Tom Travis, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, announced Monday the state and county are moving forward with a plan to kill three active geothermal wells on the PGV site by injecting them with cold water and sealing them with iron plugs.

That effort to kill the wells could begin as early as today, Travis said.

Because of the volcanic activity, Hawaii island residents and visitors are also advised of the following:

>> The state Department of Transportation said this afternoon that work on Highway 130 near Leilani Estates has been completed from Malama Street to Kamaili Road due to new cracks in the pavement that developed overnight. The road reopened at 1 p.m. for local traffic only.

>> Highway 132 is closed at Pohoiki Road intersection; a checkpoint is located on Highway 130 by Pahoa High School with only local traffic allowed.

>> The Health Department reports hazardous emissions of sulfur dioxide gas from fissures are especially dangerous for elderly, children, babies and people with respiratory problems. SO2 can be carried by wind, or, cover an area with no wind.

>> HVO scientists say the eruptive activity in Lower Puna remained concentrated at fissure 17, with intermittent lava spattering at fissure 18, today. A new fissure, No. 20, near fissure 18 also produced two small pads of lava, they said early this afternoon. The lava flow from fissure 17 advanced about 1,250 ft since 2:30 p.m. Monday. The advance of the flow has slowed significantly since Monday afternoon, according to HVO. Volcanic gas emissions remain elevated throughout the area downwind of the fissures, HVO warns. Scientists said magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone and elevated earthquake activity continues.

>> The state Department of Transportation planned to reopen Highway 130 from Malama Street to Kamaili Road to local traffic this afternoon after an inspection earlier today showed the roadway is safe. However, the highway may be shut down again if hazardous conditions develop.

>> The air quality in Pahala this morning has been measured as “unhealthy” and is decreasing, according to the University of Hawaii’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project. “Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant,” the weather service said in an alert. “Those with respiratory sensitivities should take extra precaution to minimize exposure.”

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🌋 Hawaii volcano spews 6 mile-high plume of ash, could blow again
« Reply #155 on: May 18, 2018, 01:13:12 AM »

May 17, 2018 / 8:23 AM / Updated 4 hours ago
Hawaii volcano spews 6 mile-high plume of ash, could blow again

Terray Sylvester

5 Min Read

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spewed ash nearly six miles (9 km) into the sky on Thursday and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.

“This has relieved pressure temporarily,” U.S. Geological Survey geologist Michelle Coombs told a news conference in Hilo. “We may have additional larger, powerful events.”

Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground during the two-week eruption.

The wind could carry Kilauea’s ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island’s largest city and a major tourism center, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.

“Protect yourself from ash fallout,” it said.

Some Big Island residents had feared “the big one” after Kilauea shot anvil-sized “ballistic blocks” into the visitors’ car park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.

But geologists said the 4:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m. EDT) explosion was not particularly large and on a par with the last series of steam-driven blasts, which took place in 1924.

“The activity is such that they can occur at any time, separated by a number of hours,” Hawaiian National Volcano Observatory Deputy Scientist-In-Charge Steve Brantley told reporters on a conference call.

Geologists said it was extremely unlikely Kilauea would have a massive eruption like that of 1790 which killed dozens of people in the deadliest eruption to occur in what is now the United States.

Kilauea’s falling lava lake has likely descended to a level at or below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of its lava column and create steam-driven blasts, they said.

“I don’t think there is a big one that’s coming,” said University of Hawaii vulcanologist Scott Rowland.

“I think it’s going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that’s based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog,” he said of the nearly century old event, which lasted 2-1/2 weeks and killed one person who was hit by a “ballistic block.”

On Thursday, a 21st fissure also opened in Leilani Estates while other fissures reactivated with lava, the Hawaii Civil Defense said in an alert.

A spike in toxic sulfur dioxide gas levels closed schools around the town of Pahoa, 25 miles (40 km) east of the volcano, where lava from giant cracks has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced about 2,000 residents to evacuate.

A change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift northwest towards Pahoa, prompting National guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection, according to a Reuters reporter.

Pahoa fire station recorded a “red level” of sulfur dioxide, meaning the gas would cause choking and an inability to breathe, Fenix Grange of the Hawaii Department of Health told a news conference in Hilo.

“If it’s red, it’s get out of Dodge,” she said.

There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption.
A plume of ash emerges moments after Kilauea Volcano erupted in this still image taken from a time-lapse video shot between May 16 and May 17, 2018, near Kilauea, Hawaii, obtained from social media. MANDATORY CREDIT. Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF/via REUTERS

Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea to protect residents from the powdered rock, which is not poisonous but causes irritation to eyes and airways.

Volunteers handed out some 5,000 dust masks in less than three hours in the community of Kea’au, north of Pahoa at one of the four distribution points that were opened on Thursday.

“It was just thick, eyes watering kinda stuff,” said Glenn Severance, 65, a resident of Hawaii Paradise Park.

“I just wanted to have something,” said Severance, adding he knew the mask would not protect against toxic volcanic gases.

An aviation red alert was in effect due to risks ash could be carried into aircraft routes and damage jet engines, USGS said. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday’s plume.

Across the Big Island, home to 200,000 residents, people were encouraged to take caution driving, as ashfall can make roads slippery, and not go outdoors unless necessary.

But by 1:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. EDT) reported ashfall was limited to only light, wet deposits about 3-4 miles (5-6 km) northwest of the summit, as rain over the volcano curbed the spread of ash.
Slideshow (17 Images)

Thursday’s eruption lasted only a few minutes, said Coombs who called it “a big event that got people’s attention, but did not have widespread impact”.

“Tall but small,” she said of Thursday’s plume.

Additional reporting by Jolyn Rosa in Honolulu; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Sandra Maler and Himani Sarkar


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