Friday, May 4, 2018

Eruption Over For Now


Targeting a Puna district housing subdivision, the lava outbreak fountained and oozed lava along a fissure approximately 165 feet long. The fissure cut diagonally across properties, missing houses and crossing a road. Wow, a lot of people lucked out. I imagine losing your home and entire possessions would be devastating. 

While a drone took aerial views, geologists worked on the ground documenting the event. Lava fountained in bursts ranging from a few feet to about 100' in height. An impressive display from my armchair vantage, but it must have been spectacular experiencing it firsthand. Lava is noisy, radiant & hot, and smelly.......the exact images of hell. The drone footage was amazing! Thanks, Byron Matthews! 

The eruption lasted for about two hours. By 6:30 pm no new lava was being emitted. The flows coming from the fissure were shirt, with the longest appearing to be about 30-35 feet long and spread out. The fissure zone must have been awe inspiring in the dark night, with glowing red lava hotspots .....yes, the fire of hell. 

What's next? We don't know. The earthquakes are continuing. Lava reservoirs in Pu'u O'o and Halema'uma'u craters have dropped in level, having drained to somewhere. Will that lava travel and breakout someplace else? It's a possibility. For the sake of the residents down there, I hope it doesn't breakout again on land. The ocean isn't far away and an undersea eruption would be preferred. 

When will residents be allowed to return to their homes? I haven't heard. With earthquakes still occurring, I suspect that some people won't want to go back too quickly, while others will be eager to retrieve valuables. The fear of looting exists, since in the past the county hasn't been very effective in preventing it. But live lava and looting aren't the only dangers the residents face. Toxic fumes are actively emitted from eruption sites. So even if there isn't flowing lava, it still isn't safe to be near the site. Just recently a lava tour guide died due to toxic fumes, so officials are very aware of the danger. 

I see that the mainland news has picked up the eruption story. Their facts are a little bit off in places, but generally they've got the story. Typically they don't follow up with the rest if a story, so I'll post another update to let you know what's going on. 

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