Hawaii May 05, 2018
The World’s Most Active Volcano Is Threatening Hawaii And Here’s What You Should Know
Kilauea Volcano, found within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, is not only the youngest shield volcano in the state but one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The volcano is also experiencing one of the most long-lived eruptions known to man — the eruption began in 1983 on the east rift zone, and continues to this day, with five new eruptions occurring within the last 48 hours. Here’s what you should know:
After a series of earthquakes, new eruptions on Kilauea’s east rift zone sent lava soaring more than 100 feet into the air and threatened the lower Puna district, forcing evacuations. Since then, there have been hundreds of tiny earthquakes, and a few major ones, including a 6.9 magnitude earthquake at 12:32 p.m. Friday afternoon. The earthquake could be felt on the island of Oahu and is the largest earthquake in Hawaii since 1975. There was, however, no tsunami created as a result of the earthquake.
Scientists state that the countless small earthquakes are not indicative of whether Hawaii will experience a much larger earthquake, but one thing is true: there has been an increase in seismic on Hawaii Island, and it is hard to predict what might happen next.
As of Friday night, there have been five eruptions centralized in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, with molten lava snaking its way through the forest and at least six fissures opening up in the streets. Each fissure — or crack in the ground from which lava spews — is several hundred yards long, with spatter and lava collecting within ten yards of the vents.
The following footage depicts a small fissure that opened up in the Leilani Estates subdivision during the evening of May 3. According to the United States Geological Survey, spatter began erupting shortly before 5 p.m. and was active until 6:30 p.m. The fissure was measured at approximately 164 yards long:
Several hours after the abve video was filmed, footage was taken in the middle of the night of another fissure in Leilani Estates. Residents described the eruptions as haunting, hissing, and like a freight train, according to Hawaii News Now.
But Leilani Estates isn't the only place you'll find volcanic activity. A massive plume of smoke, ash, and volcanic debris billowed skyward and could be seen for miles. Why? Because the lava lake is dropping, and as it drops, some of the support to the vent walls is removed, resulting in falling rock. Each rockfall kicks up a dust cloud presenting itself as a cloud of gas and ash coming off the lava lake.
The volcanic ash’s pink color is a result of the rock collapsing being oxidized (or rusted). The two occurrences, in Leilani Estates and at the summit, are related.
Unfortunately, while ground cracks were discovered in the days leading up to May 3, and it was confirmed that they were the result of an intrusion of magma, no one could have predicted exactly what would happen.
An emergency proclamation is in effect at both the county and state levels. It is also important to note that there are no volcanic eruption viewing opportunities in the lower Puna area, and there are multiple volcanic hazards in the area, including dangerous sulfur dioxide emissions. As of Friday evening, more than 1,200 people have been evacuated from their homes near Leilani Estates.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has also closed due to collapses of the Kilauea Caldera wall, fallen trees, massive volcanic plumes, and cracks in the ground near the Jagger Museum. The park is closed until further notice.
Though the eruptions have been centralized so far, Kilauea — like all of the world's volcanoes — is unpredictable and in need of constant monitoring. These eruptions serve as a powerful reminder that Mother Nature and Pele are always in charge. Because of Kilauea's unpredictable nature, USGS personnel, state officials, and Hawaii Island residents are taking it hour by hour. There's no telling what might occur, and it is important to be prepared, which is why we urge you to check out
safety tips for no-notice emergencies
Here at Only In Hawaii, we’re sending love and Aloha to all those affected by these volcanic eruptions. For updates on this volcanic eruption, follow the United States Geological Survey’s alert page or visit their Facebook page .
How crazy are these photographs and footage shared by the United States Geological Survey? Share your own photos and experiences of Hawaii’s volcanic eruptions both past and present with us in the comments.