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Fissure 8 Flow Affects Puna Papaya Farms

July 2, 2018, 1:11 PM HST
* Updated July 3, 9:18 AM
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VIDEO: The small plume from Fissure 22 is seen just to the left of Fissure 8’s large plume. Panning to the left, the ocean entry plume of laze and the flat area of Kapoho can be seen. June 30, 2018, at 6:21 p.m. VC: Crystal Richard

After the “Future of Pāhoa” town hall meeting on June 30, 2018, Big Island Now was given the opportunity to travel to lower Puna with a state legislator and a papaya farmer to view fields and the impacts on the farm.

The hour-long ride to the farmer’s land traveled through one checkpoint and several gates on multiple properties to get. The roads have been cut off and this—the long way—was the only way in.

This video was taken from what used to be papaya fields, until lava flows came through about three weeks ago.

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The farm was previously also growing banana, soursop, oranges, macnuts and more.

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The papaya fields are now covered by lava and directly adjacent to a river of lava.

The owners of this property are still harvesting fruit but no longer live on the property.

Hawai‘i Island has so far lost 80% of its papaya farms.

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Fissure 8 is erupting 26,000 gallons of lava per second. USGS said the channelized flow was moving at an average of 17 mph.

The eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone, now in week eight, and has been producing around 25,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day

Trade-winds are blowing the emissions to the south.

In the last few days, six homes have been taken by the lava, in addition to last week’s official count of 657.

Lava covers 6,164 acres.

The Fissure 8 flow has stabilized but shows no indication of stopping anytime soon.

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