Kilauea, Hawaii Eruption 2018, Part 2
Kilauea, Hawaii Lower East Rift Zone Eruption 2018, Part 2Part 2: The Effects & Some Perspective
The tan area is the rim of the Kilauea caldera at the summit, covered by ash from the collapse explosions. It's about 1/2 mile away. This is the only view the public can get as of August, 2018 because of the risk of the eruption suddenly resuming.
The highway settled during the many collapse earthquakes. This location is only 1000 feet from the caldera edge. While the collapses were active (one to two a day for months), there were "no stopping" signs and a minimum speed limit here.
A really big deal was made of this road settling by local authorities and in the news. It was really overblown.
One of my favorite road signs ever!
I would sorely like to have seen Kilauea caldera, but not even the resident scientists were going there all summer.
Another great sign!
Isn't it ironic: Volcanoes National Park is closed due to volcanic activity! That's a bit like the Grand Canyon being closed due to erosion, or Universal Studios closing due to excessive fantasy.
Lower East Rift Zone -- Leilani EstatesNational Guard troops and police were stationed at all entrances to the eruption area. This is the block on the Pahoa - Kapoho Road north of the lava flows. I spoke with a very nice police officer there to ask how everyone was coping. She explained that everyone, residents and troops, is well aware that the eruption could resume with very short notice, potentially trapping people, and so felt the closure was still justified.
I'm always interested in real people's responses, which are usually more settled and logical than you would expect. They're certainly vastly different from what's portrayed in movies or reported in the news!
Entrance to Leilani Estates, highway 130 at Leilani Ave.
You've got to find strength to deal with the powerful emotions of losing your house and possessions this way, and of being displaced because of uncontrollable natural forces. Few people in the world have gone through what the Leilani and nearby residents have -- when can they move back? When will the eruption start up again? Is destruction of my house inevitable? And yes, Mr. Guardsman, I'll keep moving!
Highway 130 south of Malama St. It was surreal to drive across active volcanic fissures! The smell of sulfur dioxide is hard to describe. It's not rotten egg gas, it's more like you're breathing acid. It hurts the eyes and lungs. It leaves a sour metallic taste in your mouth. Your body immediately rebels against it, with a strong instinct to flee.
In my heart, I was hoping lava would spurt out just for a minute.
A Google Street View of the fissure area before 2018.
2012 Lava Near KalapaniA man out standing in his field. These big lava flows occurred in 2012. On the slope in the distant left was the Hawaiian Gardens subdivision that was largely destroyed by lava in 1990. The last remaining house, Jack's Lava House B&B, was destroyed in 2012. You can find an episode on Jack's by Anthony Bourdain, and several YouTube videos.
This emergency evacuation road was constructed so the East Rift Zone cannot trap people between it and the ocean. Having been covered by lava flows several times, it was hurriedly reconstructed when the 2018 eruptions began.
Looking east toward Kapala along the evacuation road. Clouds at the far left are above the eruption.
When pahoehoe (ropey, smooth texture) lava first erupts, it is covered with a thin coating of glass, which is silvery in appearance. It reflects sunlight, and crunches under your shoes. In the wet Hawaiian climate, it only lasts a few years before disentigrating.
Pele's Hair is glass fibers formed when droplets of lava shoot through the air at high speed. They don't last long in the wet Hawaiian climate, and so are a rare find outside of an active eruption.
These lumps (each the size of a garage) are called "thermal blisters," and they form when the lava field cools non-uniformly. Lava moves around under the hardened surface, sometimes draining out or piling up in different places. The resulting land surface is very uneven and rough.
2014 Lava at Pahoa
In 2014, a lava flow traveled several miles to enter the fence surrounding the Pahoa waste transfer station.
Having traveled several miles, the lava here was just cool enough to not melt the fence!
The transfer station road has been recut through the 2014 flows.
This fence didn't fare very well.
The 2014 Pahoa flows from the air. The waste transfer station is the lonely white structure at lower left.
History of the 2018 Eruption
The USGS put together week-by-week maps of the 2018 eruption lava flows in this video.
Here's the bigger picture. Kilauea is the youngest of 5 volcanoes on the island of Hawaii. It and Mauna Loa are the only ones considered active. Loihi is on the seafloor, and will likely eventually grow into an island or part of Hawaii.
This perspective-view map shows the historic lava flows on Kilauea. The east rift zone is at the right.
Map of the 2018 east rift zone fissures.
So much of the Big Island's ground surface is very young!
A National Park Service map of the Kilauea summit area. Their maps will have to be updated now that the caldera has collapsed, taking with it much of the crater rim drive and obliterating Halemaumau crater.
The final flow map of this event, as of the August cessation.
Map of earthquakes that accompanied the lower east rift zone eruption in May - June, 2018.
The Halemaumau crater within Kilauea's 4000 foot summit caldera collapsed by more than 1100 feet in a series of >M5.0 earthquakes from mid-May to early August, 2018.
A Google Earth view of the same area in the previous picture, taken before the 2018 events.
USGS animation of Halemaumau collapse.
Map of lava flows at Kilauea summit from USGS.