High Alert: Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Update USGS Map, Lava Flows Continue
Nine weeks after Hawaii’s Kilauea began erupting, the volcano is still actively sending lava across more than a mile of the island and into the ocean.
The volcano has destroyed everything in its path since the initial eruption and showed no signs of slowing down more than two months into its activity. Homes, roads and parking lots have been covered in lava or have fallen into the volcano’s caldera.
Collapse events at the summit continued to cause what feels like earthquakes across the island for those in the area, plaguing residents for weeks on end. Seismicity drops just after such a collapse, but picks back up again a few hours later, building until another collapse event occurs. The most recent collapse event happened Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The summit of the volcano was still releasing sulfur dioxide, though levels have dropped as the activity has continued. Gas and the ash coming from the volcano can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs—and both were traveling downwind of the summit.
In addition to the activity at the summit of the volcano, the large channel of lava flowing to the ocean continued to pose a danger to those in the area. The flow has spread across the island and was entering the ocean at several spots, a map of the island showed Friday.
The lava in the channel was mostly from Fissure 8 on the island that has been highly active for weeks. That lava was flowing and entering the ocean at Kapoho Beach, where it filled the entirety of Kapoho Bay last month. The flow caused the communities of Kapoho Beach Lots and Four Corners on the island to be closed completely, according to Hawaii Civil Defense.
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Though the lava was in the channel flowing to the ocean, it was sometimes spilling over the outside edges and breakouts were possible. Due to the variability of the lava, people were advised to stay away from the channel.
Where the lava was reaching the ocean and entering the water, there was flying debris due to the reaction of the hot lava hitting the cool water. That area is also unstable due to the fact that the lava was new and built on other lava and some sand, the USGS warned. The lava’s entry point also caused lava haze, or laze, to form, a plume that contained hydrochloric acid that could irritate the skin and lungs.