Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Kīlauea eruption currently poses no threat to residents and property
Scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Wednesday they don’t see any signs that the lava from the current eruption of Kīlauea will leave Halema‘uma‘u Crater and threaten people or property on the Big Island.
At this point, David Phillips, the deputy scientist-in-charge at the Hilo-based observatory, said there is no evidence of migration to either the southwest or east rift zones. The southwest rift zone, also known as the Ka‘ū Desert, is not populated. The east rift zone has homes in the lower portion.
The eruption began at 4:44 a.m. on Wednesday and Phillips said it wasnʻt a surprise to the scientists.
For the past two and half weeks, scientists have been monitoring earthquakes that were rumbling beneath the crater and along the southwest rift zone, which is located within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and along the Nāmakaniopaio fault line, also within the park between Mauna Loa and Kīlauea.
It is not known how long this eruption will last. Kīlauea’s last eruption went for 61 days before ending on March 7.
Jessica Ferracane, public affairs specialist at the park, said this eruption is exciting because itʻs great for viewing with there is no current threat to people or infrastructure.
In the 2018 eruption, lava migrated to the lower east rift zone and erupted in a residential subdivision, Leilani Estates, destroying roads and homes from which people are still recovering.
The first fissure opened up on May 3, 2018. The following day, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Hawai‘i Island, which continued to move magma to the lower east rift zone.
Over the next two months, lava covered 13.7 square miles of land, several dozens of feet deep in places. The flows in the lower east rift zone destroyed 700 homes, displaced more than 2,000 people, covered 30 miles of road, and added 875 acres of new land to the island.
As this new eruption continues, officials say communities in the Puna, Kaʻū and South Kona districts may be affected by vog (volcanic smog).