Eruption at Leilani Estates in lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

Eruption at Leilani Estates in lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

An eruption has begun in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano shortly before 03:00 UTC on May 4, 2018. Lava was confirmed at the surface in the eastern end of the subdivision. Hawaii County Civil Defense is on the scene and coordinating needed response including the evacuation of up to 10 000 residents of the Leilani subdivision. 

Warning sirens sounded across the Big Island a couple of hours ago as Hawaii County Civil Defense urged residents of Leilani Estates to flee the approaching lava streams.

Lava fountains were shooting 46 m (150 feet) in the air, and molten lava spread out over an area about 183 m (600 feet) wide behind one house in Leilani Estates, residents reported.

The county has ordered evacuations for all of Leilani Estates, some 1 700 people. Nearby community centers have opened for shelter.

Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018. Image credit: USGS/HVO

Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018. Image credit: USGS/HVO

Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018. Image credit: USGS/HVO

​Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018

Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018. Image credit: USGS/HVO

The eruption began several hours after ground shaking from a preliminary magnitude-5.0 earthquake (20:30 UTC) south of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō which caused rockfalls and additional collapse into the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone. 

A robust but short-lived, reddish-brown plume of ash produced by this event lofted skyward and is continuing to dissipate as it drifts southwest from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Anyone downwind may experience a dusting of ash, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said.

Short-lived plume of ash produced by M5.0 earthquake at Kilauea volcano on May 4, 2018

Short-lived plume of ash produced by M5.0 earthquake south of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, Kilauea volcano on May 4, 2018. Credit: Kevan Kamibayashi/USGS

Residents of the lower Puna District should remain alert, review individual, family, and business emergency plans, and watch for further information about the status of the volcano, HVO said.

Hawaii County Civil Defense messages may be found at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

New ground cracks were reported in Leilani Estates over the past couple of hours, HVO reported 03:35 UTC. White, hot vapor and blue fume emanated from an area of cracking in the eastern part of the subdivision and spatter began erupting shortly before 03:00 UTC.

Areas downslope of the erupting vent are at risk of lava inundation. At this time, the general area of the Leilani subdivision appears at greatest risk.

The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic, HVO said, adding that additional vents and new lava outbreaks may occur and at this time it is not possible to say where new vents may occur.

HVO and the County of Hawaii are on the ground and conducting overflights to further identify characterize activity and identify the direction of flowing lava.

At 04:50 UTC, Civil Defence issued the following message:

Lava Eruption From Mohala Street In Leilani Estates Subdivision, Thursday, May 3 At 6:50 PM

This is a Civil Defense update for Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 6:50 PM.

Department of Public Works reports steam and lava emissions from a crack in Leilani Subdivision in the area of Mohala Street.

Due to the eruption, the following are issued:

  • An emergency proclamation is now in effect and at the following link: http://hawaiicountymayor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Emergency-Lava-proclamation-May-3-2018.pdf
  • All residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions are required to evacuate.
  • The Pahoa Regional Community Center near the new Pahoa Regional Park is open for shelter. 
  • Keaau Community Center is to be opened for additional shelter needs.
  • Residents evacuating should ensure to bring your emergency evacuation supply kit including necessary medicine, food, and necessary items for your comfort if possible.
  • The intersection at Highway 132 and Pohoiki Road is now closed to allow evacuation efforts to proceed.
  • Puna Geothermal Venture is executing their emergency plan and starting to shut down operations at this time.
  • Avoid travel to the evacuation area for everyone’s safety.

Hawaii County Civil Defense, Police, Fire and partners continue to assist evacuation efforts and monitor the situation. You will be informed of any conditions that affect your safety.

Thank you.  This is your Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency.

***

Updates

08:20 UTC

The eruption in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano that began in late afternoon ended by about 04:30 UTC, HVO reported 06:13 UTC.

Lava spatter and gas bursts erupted from the fissure for about two hours, and lava spread a short distance from the fissure, less than about 10 m (33 feet).

At this time, the fissure is not erupting lava and no other fissures have erupted along the rift zone.

Tiltmeters at Kīlauea's summit continue to record deflationary tilt and the lava lake level has dropped about 37 m (121 ft) in the past 24 hours.

Seismic activity has not changed significantly during the day or since the brief fissure eruption.

21:35 UTC

An eruption is in progress along Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone again, HVO reported 15:45 UTC.

Since late afternoon May 3, at least three small fissure vents have opened in Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower Puna district. At this time, activity consists mostly of vigorous lava spattering but additional outbreaks in the area are likely. Deflationary tilt at the summit of the volcano continues and the lava lake level continues to drop. 

Eruption at Kilauea volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 4, 2018Eruption at Kilauea volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 4, 2018

Images courtesy USGS/HVO

Photos and maps of activity will be posted to the HVO web site as they become available. https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_chronology.html

22:10 UTC

A strong and shallow M5.4 earthquake hit 18 km (11.2 miles) SW of Leilani Estates, Hawaii at 21:32 UTC. This is the strongest earthquake in this region since increased seismicity began a couple of days ago.

05:28 UTC, May 5

A very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.9 hit Hawaii at 22:32 UTC (12:32 local time) on May 4, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles).

A small tsunami was generated around the Big Island. Hawaii County Civil Defense said sea fluctuations ranged from 20 cm (8 inches) in Hilo to 40 cm (16 inches) inches at Kapoho.

According to Hawaii News Now, the temblor was centered on the south flank of Kilauea and was felt as far away as Oahu. It triggered several landslides along the Hamakua Coast, including one that closed a lane for several hours. 

About 14 000 customers lost power in Kaumana, Hilo and Puna but power has since been restored.

Today's M6.9 quake was registered 1.5 km (0.9 miles) NNE of Royal Gardens, 16 km (10 miles) SW of Leilani Estates and 24.5 km (15.8 miles) SSW of Hawaiian Paradise Park (population 11 404).

A total of 677 earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 0.7 to M6.9 were registered in this region since 06:11 UTC on April 28:

Earthquakes in Hawaii April 28 - May 5, 2018

Image credit: USGS

At least two structures were significantly damaged as a result of the eruption and a number of roads have been covered in lava or severely damaged.

At this time, there are 770 structures and 1 700 people in the area under mandatory evacuation, said Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige.

10:00 UTC, May 7

Kilauea volcano eruption update: 11th fissure opens, 30 homes destroyed, Hawaii (Read more)

Featured image:  Eruption begins on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on May 3, 2018. Image credit: Jeremiah Osuna

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