May 4, 2018

USA: In Wake Of Big 5.4 Magnitude Earthquake Shook The Big Island On Friday Morning, A Fifth Kilauea Volcanic Eruption Started Spewing Lava Into The Leilani Estates Subdivision.

dutchsinse published on May 2, 2018: Volcanic activity across Pacific -- Earthquakes progressing towards Europe + USA

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VOA News Published on May 2, 2018: Lava glowing in several spots inside the cone of what appears to be an active volcano in Hawaii County. Kilauea volcano eruption.
Hawaii News Now
written by Staff
Friday May 4, 2018

PUNA, BIG ISLAND - Shortly after a 5.4 magnitude quake shook the Big Island on Friday morning, a fifth eruption started spewing lava into the Leilani Estates subdivision, authorities confirmed.

The temblor at about 11:30 a.m. was centered near the south flank of Kilauea — about 18 kilometers southwest of Leilani Estates, the USGS reported. The quake did not generate a tsunami, but was felt across the Big Island from Hilo to Kona and as far away as Oahu.

The quake added to an already busy day for the Big Island, which is now grappling with five separate eruptions from two fissures in Leilani Estates.

On Friday morning, authorities said the situation in the Puna subdivision continues to get more dire.

And Hawaii County Civil Defense authorities have issued this ominous warning to households that choose not to heed mandatory orders to leave: "First responders may not be able to come to the aid of residents who refuse to evacuate."

The five eruptions, the latest of which started just five minutes after the large quake, are threatening several homes — and authorities have confirmed that at least two homes have sustained significant damage.

Dramatic images from the subdivision show lava bubbling up from the ground and soaring more than 100 feet in the air.

Residents described the sound of the eruptions as haunting — "hissing" and "like a freight train."

Active volcanic vents have been reported on Mohala Street,

About 11 a.m., officials confirmed a fourth breakout on Mohala Street, Kaupili Street, Makamae Street and near Kahukai Street and Leilani Avenue.

Civil Defense said all Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision residents are required to evacuate immediately.

In a news conference, Mayor Harry Kim said though the eruptions are mainly affecting this particular region of Puna, surrounding areas should also be on alert. "In regards to activity of lava itself, yes, we’re gonna monitor it very carefully and be ready to evacuate or identify different areas," Kim said.

In addition to the large quake, the Big Island continues to get rattle by smaller tremors.

Resident Ikaika Marzo said he could feel several quakes shake the area in the early morning hours before the second eruption around 1:30 a.m.

The new eruptions Friday come in the wake of the volcano's first fissure in the community on Thursday afternoon.

HVO said the first eruption that started in late afternoon Thursday ended about 6:30 p.m., after creating a fissure that sent lava soaring as high as 125 feet into the air. About 10:30 p.m., geologists confirmed the fissure (whose length was not immediately clear) was no longer erupting.

They stressed, however, that new lava outbreaks remain a possibility.

"The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic and uncertain. It is not possible at this time to say when and where new vents may occur," the observatory said, in its latest update. "Areas downslope of an erupting fissure or vent are at risk of lava inundation. At this time, the general area of the Leilani subdivision appears at greatest risk."

Two emergency shelters have been opened for evacuees — one at Pahoa Community and the Keaau Community centers — and a number of families had hunkered down at the facilities for the night.

Within hours of the eruption Thursday, Gov. David Ige had also activated the Hawaii National Guard and issued an emergency disaster proclamation. FEMA is also mobilizing resources.

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Ige urged evacuees to "stay calm" and continue to stay tuned to emergency alerts.

Those residents fled their homes Thursday evening with few belongings — just what they could collect in the minutes they had to leave, as officers went door-to-door to ensure everyone got out. One resident said he grabbed his father's ashes as he ran out the door.

"My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced," another resident said. "When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now."

Some residents seemed in disbelief at what they were seeing in their own backyards. In social media posts, they documented lava sputtering up from cracks in the roadway and then angrily boiling up higher and higher.

Marzo said he could see fountains of lava in the community topping 100 feet.

He was among the first people in Leilani Estates to spot the active lava. And as soon as he did, he started notifying anyone he could find.

"When we drove on that road, we heard a noise in the forest and it was like a little thump," he said. "Next thing, like three to five seconds after that, we smelled sulfur. After that, that's when there was tons of sulfur. Then we saw some lava popping out."

The lava outbreak Thursday was first reported about 4:30 p.m., some six hours after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake shook the Big Island Thursday morning. That quake came after hundreds of small tremors rattled the island since last week.

The first signs of trouble in Leilani Estates came about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, when residents reported plumes of smoke spewing from cracks in the road. On Wednesday, cracks were also reported on the road in Leilani Estates, but officials reported they did not pose a lava threat.

Still, the cracks added to residents' anxieties as the quakes didn't let up.

"Last night, we started having them ... about five a minute. It was like that just about all night long," said Chris Burmeister, who lives in Leilani Estates. "It'll rumble for a little bit. Rumble for a little bit. And then every now and then, you'll get just a heavy jolt."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there were nearly 70 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or stronger from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Amid the quakes, scientists installed additional GPS monitoring equipment and deployed crews to put in even more monitoring tools.

Before Thursday's eruption, HVO research geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua said the seismic activity seen in recent days is similar to what happened before an eruption of Kilauea in February 1955. During that eruption, at least 24 separate volcanic vents opened up and lava covered about 3,900 acres.

Kauahikaua said coastal communities from Kalapana to Kapoho were evacuated and "sections of every public road to the coastline were buried by lava" before the eruption abruptly stopped in May 1955.

On Wednesday, amid fears of an eruption, Hawaii County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area. The area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has also closed off access to about 15,688 acres, which run from the Puu O'o vent to the ocean. The closure includes access to the gravel emergency access road from the eastern gate near Kalapana to the western gate at the end of Chain of Crater Road.

The Hawaiian Electric Company also confirmed Thursday that the Puna Geothermal plant was shut down, and that there would not be any rolling blackouts or power outages.

The last time lava threatened Puna was in 2014, when a flow closed roads for weeks in Pahoa, forced evacuations and claimed several structures, including one home.

5/04/2018 -- Major M6.9 earthquake strikes Hawaii -- Unrest Spreading - HAVE A PLAN + BE PREPARED

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