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Video: Eruption of Lava and Ground Cracking Continues

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The U.S. Geological Survey reports that eruption of lava and ground cracking in the area of Leilani Estates subdivision continues.

Beginning Friday, May 18, and into Saturday, May 19, 2018, the rate of lava eruption has increased. Fissure 17 is weakly active now, and Fissures 16-20 have merged into a continuous line of spatter and fountaining. Flows from the consolidated Fissure 20 crossed upper Pohoiki road late yesterday afternoon and continued flowing southward. This afternoon, Saturday, May 19, two flows from the merged fissure complex have joined less than a mile from the coast and continue to flow southward between Pohoiki and Opihikao Rds. The lava flow from Fissure 18 is stalled. It is unknown whether the flows will continue to advance, or stop, and new lava flows are likely given the rate of activity seen at the rift zone. Volcanic gas emissions remain very high.

Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava are possible in the area. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all County of Hawai‘i Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone; however, a GPS instrument near the Lower East Rift Zone is no longer moving suggesting that the rift zone is no longer inflating in this area. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days.

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Videographer Mick Kalber went up with Paradise Helicopters on Saturday, May 19, and captured this video:

May 19, 2018 Pele’s March to the Pacific from Mick Kalber on Vimeo.

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Kalber states:

An unbelievable amount of lava is erupting from fissures below Leilani Estates on the Big Island of Hawai‘i! More than twenty cracks are issuing red hot liquid rock, which is coursing downhill, destroying homes, cars, roads… and anything else in her path. The fissures have now joined forming a “curtain of fire” in a spectacular display. Numerous fingers of lava have stretched toward the sea overnight, and this morning were only about a mile from the water.

Over forty homes have been destroyed since the eruption began fifteen days ago. Although it began in Leilani and burned several homes there, she soon established her vents below the subdivision with towering fountains, spatter cones feeding gigantic lava flows. So far, no deaths have been reported. First responders have evacuated several residents who had become trapped by the fast moving flows.

Pohoiki Road has been covered with lava, but Highways 132 and 137 are still open as of this writing. If she continues at the same rate we saw this morning, she may cross the “Red Road,” and make the ocean by tonight or tomorrow. No lava is currently erupting in the Leilani Estates subdivision.

Mahalo to the kind folks at Paradise Helicopters… they offer the finest charters in the islands!

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