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Portion of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Closed Due to Potential Volcanic Hazards

May 2, 2018, 4:01 PM HST (Updated May 3, 2018, 7:27 AM)
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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park reports that due to the possibility of a new eruption and unstable geologic activity, park management closed 15,688 acres near Kīlauea Volcano’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent to the ocean today, including the gravel emergency access road from the eastern gate near Kalapana, to the western gate at the end of Chain of Craters Road, and all land on the makai (ocean) side of the emergency road.

The silhouettes of HVO and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum are visible on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera (center high point). Mauna Loa can be seen in the far distance (left). The area around Halema‘uma‘u remains closed to the public due to ongoing volcanic hazards, including high sulfur dioxide gas emissions and unexpected rockfalls and explosions. Courtesy US Geological Survey

“The recent eruption changes and increased seismicity around the East Rift Zone and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent  may threaten land and the community outside the park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The partial closure in the park is necessary to prevent unsafe travel onto lands under the jurisdiction of Hawai‘i County and to keep people safe.  Most of the park, which is 333,308 acres in size, remains open.”

On Monday afternoon, April 30, the crater within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō collapsed, and a flurry of low magnitude earthquakes continues to shake the eastern side of the island, particularly communities in lower Puna. A small fissure opened to the west of the vent on Tuesday, May 1, but scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report that an intrusion of magma is heading eastward from the vent towards Highway 130.

Puna residents are encouraged to sign up for Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/, and to subscribe to volcanic updates via USGS: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.

The current eruption at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō is off limits to hikers. However, the summit of Kīlauea continues to erupt within Halema‘uma‘u Crater within the park, and is best viewed from the Jaggar Museum overlook. The lava lake within the crater has risen dramatically since April 21, and has occasionally spilled onto the crater floor. The park is open 24 hours a day.

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