Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea volcano has erupted, sending ash miles into the sky and spewing fountains of lava in a residential area which has been captured on stunning drone footage. The eruption of Mount Kilauea caused a mass evacuation in the residential area of Leilani estates, with the the drone showing lava oozing through a local forest.
Shortly after the event, Hawaii’s Governor David Ige activated the military reservists from the national guard to aid desperate residents to evacuate the area.
He tweeted: “I am in contact with Mayor Harry Kim and Hawai‘i County, and the state is actively supporting the county’s emergency response efforts. I have also activated the Hawai‘i National Guard to support county emergency response teams with evacuations and security.”
I am in contact with @MayorHarryKim, and the state is actively supporting the county’s emergency response efforts. I have activated the Hawai‘i National Guard to provide support to county emergency response personnel to help with evacuations and security. @Hawaii_EMA pic.twitter.com/SgfEYW7PiE
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) May 4, 2018
Meanwhile, a fourth eruption from a new fissure in Kilauea’s east rift zone opened Friday morning as authorities continued to urge Leilani Estates residents to get out while they still can. 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 new breakout comes after three eruptions earlier in the day, which sent lava cutting through forest and roads in Leilani Estates and significantly damaged at least two homes. Residents described the eruption as sounding like a “freight train.”
At least a dozen small earthquakes rattled the region since midnight, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Resident Ikaika Marzo said he could feel several quakes shake the area in the early morning hours and saw the second eruption around 1:30 a.m.. It lasted for about two hours, he said.
The two new eruptions happened less than a day after the volcano’s first eruption created a fissure in the community, spewing lava into the air as high as utility poles, covering roads and nearing several homes.
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.
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A volcanic crater vent – known as Puu Oo – collapsed earlier this week, sending lava down the mountain’s slopes towards populated areas.
Quoted by Express, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Janet Babb said residents in the area should remain vigilant because “lava could break to the surface, and it could do so fairly quickly” adding that “It’s a situation worth monitoring very closely.”
The good news, so far, is that “the seismicity on the lower east rift zone had declined and the tilt had slowed down so that indicates that the intrusion has stalled or paused.” Still, “what we don’t know is if this intrusive event is over or if it’s just taking a pause and it may pick back up.”
Meanwhile, the USGS put out a statement which read: “A collapse of the Pu’u’ ‘O’o crater floor Monday afternoon on Kilauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has prompted an increase in seismicity and deformation along a large section of the rift neon, with seismicity currently occurring as far east as Hwy 130.“
Scientists have said an outbreak of lava could occur and may reach the surface in the area east of Pu’u’ ‘O’o, although they could not say exactly where or when the outbreak would happen.
Resident Ikaika Marzo told Hawaii News Now that he saw “fountains” of lava as high as 125 feet (38 m). Other residents also told the news network that they smelled burning brush and heard tree branches snapping.
“An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downright (east) of Pu’u’ ‘O’o is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”
According to photos on social media, a plume of red ash rose from the volcano’s Pu’u ‘O’o vent high into the sky over the island. The Puna Geothermal plant was shutting down, according to local media, while Hawaii Electric Light said crews were disconnecting power in the areas impacted by the active lava flow.
Of course, the eruption of the Kilauea Volcano is hardly a surprise: it has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano, one of five on the island, have covered 48 square miles (125 sq km), according to the US Geological Survey.
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