(BIVN) – On May 3, 2018, a new eruption of Kīlauea Volcano started in Puna, on the lower East Rift Zone. It began on Mohala Street.
For a few tense days following the April 30, 2018 collapse of the active Puʻu Oʻo vent, scientists tracked the migration of magma down-rift. Increased earthquakes and deformation signals were accompanied by a frightening set of cracks that began to form within Leilani Estates subdivision.
Local musician and lava tour guide Ikaika Marzo was keeping a close eye on things, and sharing what he saw in photos and videos over Facebook.
“I had a had a good feeling it was gonna happen,” Marzo told Big Island Video News back in May 2018, a few days after the eruption began. Marzo spoke from the site of the Hub, aka Puʻuhonua o Puna, that he and the community organized in order to help those impacted by the disaster in any way they could. “All these cracks was multiplying by 2, every every 2 hours, it was getting bigger, bigger. More cracks, more cracks, on different streets,” Marzo said.
Marzo and his friends were mapping the cracks and saw it was all along a straight line. And every crack was getting bigger.
And then it began.
“I’m getting chicken skin about it,” Marzo remembered, as he recounted arriving at a crack on Mohala Street in Leilani Estates. “In Hawaiian, mohala means to release, to come out. And it happened on Mohala Street.”
“We went down on Mohala Street and was just coming up to the crack and all you heard was up like a ‘pop’ and we all looked at each other, like what was that?” Marzo said. “My cousin next to me was part of the the exploration clan, he ended up saying – I smell sulfur. So we looked at each other, then we started to smell sulfur, and just 50 yards from us into the forest, you can see sulfur coming out.”
Marzo said they ran up to the top of the boulevard and looked down into Mohala, and “we could see the spatter.”
The fissure was to become known as Fissure 1 -the first of 24 known fissures to open during the 2018 eruption – traveled “about a hundred yards”, Marzo said, “then we knew from then, from that point… we had an eruption.”
Marzo livestreamed the moment, as Hawaiʻi County Public Works crews arrived on the scene and the evacuations began. The video, published to Facebook, was seen over 200,000 times. For many, it was the first confirmation that an eruption had started.
The eruption would continue for the entire summer of 2018. Over 13.7 square miles were inundated with lava, over 700 structures were destroyed, and 3,000 residents were displaced.