Hawaii Volcano Observatory Alert: Saturday at 5AM, the summit crater let off a series of explosions at 5AM sending up an ash cloud 11,000 feet that lingered for 25 minutes. Lighter winds may keep ashfall from today’s explosions mostly within the park, giving downwind communities a respite. [Edit: No such luck. Taller ash explosions today had more range.]
HVO webcam caught a nice glimpse of plume by moonlight (“exit” sign of observatory reflected in lens):
Moon illuminates the plume. 3 explosions overnight at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit; ash clouds to 10,000 ft but quickly dispersed. EQs and explosions occur as summit area subsides and adjusts to withdrawal of magma. https://t.co/u8INilHsg0pic.twitter.com/xSgCmXCrhx
It looks like the coup de grace for Leilani Estates, or at least its eastern part.
Three weeks ago Leilani’s streets were lacerated by fissures, battered by lava spattering from cracks, and blocked off by ponderous flows that seldom traveled far from their source. But that was a slow-motion disaster. Most fissures were active only a few hours. While a few unlucky residents lost homes in the first wave, most were able to return and collect vital possessions, or even risked dangerous fumes to stay.
Last week, the main lava activity shifted east, downrift, overrunning smaller Lanipuna Gardens, threatening the PGV geothermal plant, and inundating fields and woods where homes were more scattered. “Hotter, fresher” magma arrived last Thursday with a roar, spurting in several-hundred foot fountains and flooding forests with rivers of fast-moving pahoehoe lava. On Saturday night, these channels reached the ocean.
It was only a reprieve. A few days ago, the fissures that had given Leilani grief began reactivating. The group of fountains monitored by HCB’s livestream began to subside as uprift vents pilfered their magma supply. Leilani’s reinvigorated vents poured out so much lava they created a pond, as well as sending new flows down to the sea. And through people’s houses:
Today, more streets were buried. Firefighters went door-to-door urging the last holdouts to flee before lava reaches them. Even parts of lower Puna not yet menaced by lava were ordered to leave before their remaining escape routes are cut off. Just in case, authorities have sent in the Marines.
82 structures lost. A two mile stretch of fissures in a residential area is pouring out an astonishing 40-60 cubit feet per second. And yet only 3.4 square miles have been covered by lava in this eruption, on an island of over 4000 square miles. But that doesn’t make it any easier for those affected.
Below, a roundup of Friday’s images, videos, USGS news, and reports from local news stations.