Maui News

Temporary Safety Zone Near Kīlauea Lava Flow

March 28, 2017, 1:34 PM HST
* Updated March 28, 4:00 PM
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The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kilauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawai’i, March 28, 2017.
(U.S. Coast Guard graphic by Sector Honolulu/Released)

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone for the navigable waters surrounding the Kīlauea Volcano active lava flow entry into the Pacific Ocean on the southeast side of the Big Island, Hawaiʻi.

The temporary safety zone will encompass all waters extending 300 meters (984 feet) in all directions around the entry of the lava flow into the ocean from noon March 28 to 8 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2017.

Experts from the US Geological Survey recommend 300 meters as the minimum safe distance to avoid hazards from the lava flow.

The Coast Guard has taken action to ensure public safety because of the danger the unstable sea cliff, volcanic shrapnel, toxic gases and potential bench collapses pose to vessel traffic and the public.

Kamokuna Ocean Entry. (1.29.17) PC: USGS/HVO

Authorities say that as long as lava enters the ocean, further sea cliff degradation, hazardous conditions, delta construction and collapse are likely to occur.  These collapses occur with little to no warning and cannot be predicted.

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According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, large and dense fragments ejected during delta collapses can be thrown in all directions from the point of collapse, including out to sea.  Based on a review of nearly 30 years of delta collapse observations in HVO records, a radius of 300 meters was determined as a reasonable minimum high hazard zone around a point of ocean entry.

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Entry of vessels or people into this zone is prohibited unless specifically authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Honolulu or his designated representative.

The Coast Guard is also issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to establish a permanent Safety Zone for this region.  Feedback from the public is being solicite on this rule making process. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2017-0234 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal a thttp://www.regulations.gov.

Written Comments: Written public comments will be accepted on or before 11:59 p.m. June 3, 2017, via http://www.regulations.gov.

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Oral Comments: The Coast Guard will provide the public an opportunity to make oral comments by holding a public meeting on May 8, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi St. #7, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

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