Maui News

Lower Puna Residents Advised to Be on Alert for Possible Eruption

May 11, 2018, 12:20 PM HST
* Updated May 11, 1:59 PM
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Eruption update:

As a precautionary measure, residents of Lower Puna, between Kapoho and Kalapana, are advised to be on the alert in the event of possible gas emissions and volcanic eruption.  The advisory was issued at 11 a.m. by the County’s Civil Defense agency noting that there may be little to no advance notice to evacuate.  The message urged area residents to take this time to prepare.

Evacuation shelters are available at the Pāhoa Community Center or Keaʻau Community Center where food is provided and there are accommodations for animals. All beach parks in Lower Puna have been closed, including the Pohoiki Boat Ramp.

At 1:40 p.m. on Friday, May 11, 2018, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the east rift zone intrusion and seismic activity appears to be moving down-rift in a north-east direction. Hazardous fumes continue to be released from existing cracks and fissures, but no lava activity is occurring at this time.

Since its onset on May 3, 2018, the East Rift Zone eruption has opened 15 fissures, covered 117 acres and has destroyed 36 structures. The US Geological Survey reports that more fissures are possible along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, and continued eruptions of lava are likely.

The steady lowering of the lava lake at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano poses an added threat for explosive eruptions of rock and ash into the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and surrounding communities.

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HVO Summary: (Friday, May 11, 2018, 6:49 a.m. HST)

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A pause in active eruption of spatter and lava along Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone continued through the night. However, earthquake activity and ground deformation continue and additional outbreaks in the general area of Leilani Estates are likely. Overnight, earthquake activity was concentrated on the downrift (east) side of the existing Leilani fissures. High levels of sulfur dioxide continue to be released from the fissure system.

Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and seismicity remains elevated. This morning, a steady plume of steam is rising from the Overlook vent. It is expected that occasional rockfalls into the deep vent will produce intermittent, low-level ash emissions. Depending on wind conditions, dustings of ash may occur in the Kilauea summit area and downwind. More energetic ash emissions are possible.

Current webcam views are here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

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USGS/HVO continues to monitor the situation at the summit and the lower East Rift Zone 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense and other authorities. Field crews are onsite in the Leilani Estates area this morning examining the fissure vents and searching for any signs of new or resumed activity.

Evacuation Update:

  • Conditions permitting, Leilani Estates residents will be allowed to check on their property from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day until further notice. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • Civil Defense Recovery Information and Assistance Center at the Sacred Hearts Church in Pāhoa, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Road Status Update:

  • Highway 130 is closed between Malama Street and Kamaili Road.
  • Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Highway 137 due to cracks in the road.
  • No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens due to dangerous volcanic gases.

Service/Utilities/Agency Update:

  • Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) has completed the removal of all pentane.
  • The Kalapana Transfer Station is closed until further notice.  The Pāhoa Transfer Station on Apaa Street is open 7 days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Hawai‘i Electric Light reminds residents to treat all downed lines as live. Under no circumstances are you to approach or touch downed lines.
  • Emergency water restrictions for the Pohoiki, Vacationland and Kapoho area are still in effect while personnel work to restore service. Water spigots installed near the entrance of Lava Tree State Park and a water tanker in Vacationland are still available for the public to access.
  • Evacuated residents can pick up their mail at the Pāhoa Post Office.
  • The Hawai‘i County Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office have established a policy of zero tolerance towards looting or vandalism. Under Emergency Provisions, any looting or vandalism will be treated as a felony.
  • Contact the Humane Society for animal information.

Community Message/Alerts:

  • Hawai‘i Academy of Arts and Sciences is closed for the rest of the week.
  • Kua O Ka La School will reopen in Hilo on  Monday.  Grades Kthrough 4 will meet at New Hope Church in Hilo, grades 5 through 12 will meet at the Boys and Girls Club in Hilo.
  • The evacuated residents are going through a very difficult time.  We ask for your help and understanding.

Please see this link for newly organized information about ash hazards, gas hazards, and the Lower East Rift Zone eruption. https://vog.ivhhn.org/

Hawaii County Civil Defense messages regarding conditions, warning, and evacuations may be found at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

MORE INFORMATION

Activity Summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8862

Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/

Webcam images: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_webcams.html

Lava Flow Maps: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html

Definitions of terms used in update: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/definitions.pdf

Overview of Kīlauea summit (Halemaʻumaʻu) and East Rift Zone (Puʻu ʻŌʻō ) eruptions:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/background.pdf

Summary of volcanic hazards from Kīlauea eruptions:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/extra/hazards.pdf

Recent Earthquakes in Hawai’i (map and list):
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/earthquakes/

Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes:
https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/activity/alertsystem/index.php
https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2006/3139/

At 9:17 a.m. HST, another weak ash plume rose from the Overlook Vent in Halema‘uma‘u crater, producing a slightly more energetic and darker plume. This second plume lacked the pink altered ash that was in the earlier plume, apparently consisting of more unaltered (therefore darker) rock fragments. This plume also was probably caused by rockfall into the deepening vent, not related to groundwater and steam-driven explosions. PC: US Geological Survey

At 9:06 a.m. HST, an ash plume rose from the Overlook crater at Kīlauea’s summit. Similar to recent plumes, this event was likely caused by a rockfall from the crater’s steep walls. The plume’s reddish color is most likely from altered rock and ash fragments that fell into the deepening conduit. PC: US Geological Survey

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