(BIVN) – The volcanic fissure system that stretches across Leilani Estates increased in activity overnight, and this morning scientists began categorizing it as a “moderate-level” eruption of lava along the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea.
“Huge eruptions are happening at fissures below Leilani Estates!” wrote Mick Kalber, as he filed his video report from above the activity in a helicopter. “Two gigantic pahoehoe outbreaks are emanating from Fissures 16 and 17, and a towering high fountain eruption is blasting skyward at Fissure 17. The lava is spreading in various directions, but hasn’t gone too far yet. Highway 132 is still safe, at least for the time being. Much of the lava generated is pooling on top of the previous flows or to the south-southeast. Another sizable outbreak and small fountain is effusing hot rock from Fissure 18 in Lani Puna Gardens. The outbreak on Hookupu at the bottom of Leilani Estates is still active, spitting a bit, but has largely subsided. Nothing appears active above Hookupu.”
The USGS this morning confirmed spattering continues from Fissures 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22 with pahoehoe lava flows being erupted from Fissures 17, 18, and 20.
At 12:30 p.m., Hawaii County Civil Defense issued this message:
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has reported several fissures producing lava spatter and flow located in the Leilani and Lanipuna area. Volcanic gas emissions are elevated throughout the area downwind of the vents. Forty (40) structures have been reported destroyed as of this morning.
Emergency officials stated the following policies are in effect:
- Leilani Estates evacuees must be alert to decreased availability of access. Do not compromise your safety. Remember closures can occur at any time, without notice.
- No access is allowed at this time for residents of Lanipuna Gardens due to high levels of dangerous volcanic gases and active lava fissures.
- Do be on the alert for elevated levels of Sulfur Dioxide as conditions show other areas on the island being affected.
HELCO advises Leilani Estates residents to be aware of downed power lines, civil defense says. “Always assume the lines are active and exercise extreme caution.”