Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday Morning Update

Lots of new updates as of this Saturday morning. 

1- HVO scientists announced that the latest lava samples taken from the erupting fissures indicate that new lava from Pu'u O'o has definitely reached Leilani Estates. Prior to this, the erupting lava had been the leftover lava stored underground from the 1955 eruption. How can they tell? The composition is different and matches samples from Pu'u O'o. 

Why is this significant? The new lava is more "fluid". Thus it flows more readily and will create lava flows. Plus more volume will be emitted and possibly at a greater frequency. Summed up, it's means a bigger eruption. 

2- At 11:58 pm last night there was another explosion at Kilaeua summit. Plenty of ash was ejected. We woke up to the smell of the volcano plus a fine dusting of ash on the cars, solar panels, and roof. Ah-ha, time to bring out the hose and wash off the ash. The dusting was just barely enough to write on the car windshield. 

3- Drove over to Pahala this morning for a pharmacy run. Whoa, Pahala got a noticeable ashfall. Everything had a fine coating of grayish white dust, most evident on rooves and car windshield. The wind was kicking up little white clouds here and there. Cars driving by sometimes had little whitish clouds behind them. Yup, they got hit last night for sure. 

4- The County paved the coastal beach road so that it could serve as an evacuation route. For years the locals have resisted paving it, but suddenly everyone's objections have taken a back seat. Beach Road very well may be a last escape road for hundreds of residents, and quite soon too. 

5- The gps instrument indicated this morning that it is no longer moving. Until this morning, the readings indicated constant ground movement as magma moved into the eruption area. Now it's still. What does that mean? I don't know. 

6- Yesterday four people got trapped by fresh lava flows and requested rescue. They were airlifted out via helicopter. They apparently returned to their home to pick up possessions but got trapped when lava flowed across the road. They called 911. All are safe but the car had to be abandoned. 

Above, the latest map but it isn't up to date. Much has happened overnight. 

7- More ground cracks were discovered in the eruption area of Puna. 

8- Four more homes were destroyed. 

9- The eruption has dramatically increased. The individual fissures are joining into a continuous line of spattering. A significant lava flow had developed which has channeled lava flowing down its center, the lava flow has increased expansion to 300 yards per hour. The night sky is lit up red. Beautiful to see but scary to know why. 

Photo by Paradise Helicopters

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