At Least 10 Volcanic Fissures Have Now Opened Up Near Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea, Destroying 21 Homes

At Least 10 Volcanic Fissures Have Now Opened Up Near Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea, Destroying 21 Homes
May 07 07:23 2018 Print This Article

(GIZMODO) – 7 May 2018 – By Tom McKay – The eruption of the Mount Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has continued to progress, with massive lava flows pouring out of what is now believed to be at least 10 fissures in the nearby residential neighborhood of Leilani Estates, the Washington Post reported.

At least two of the volcanic fissures are believed to have opened as late as Saturday night, the Post wrote, though some of the ones that opened first are no longer contributing to the magma flows.

Kilauea is a shield volcano composed mostly of basalt, which makes for fluid lava that rises from rather than violently erupts from the surrounding rock; the result can be a lot of lava, but massive explosions at the peak are rare and usually result from the introduction of liquid water that flashes into steam. The mountain has been continually erupting for over 30 years, the Post added, though usually its efforts are limited to filling Puu Oo crater with a lava lake. (That lake is now nearly empty after a vent collapse sent the lava instead flowing towards the newly opened fissues.)

“As the eruption progresses, there will become a preferred pathway for the magma to go through,” US Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist Wendy Stovall told the Post. “Some of the outer vents along this fissure line will start to close up and congeal because the lava is going to essentially harden.”

That unfortunately means that the newer fissures are spraying lava at even higher pressure, Stovall added, with the USGS estimating some were shooting molten rock as high as 230 feet (70 meters) in the air—though it is possible they could eventually shoot as high as 1,000 feet (305 meters). The fissures have been accompanied by hundreds of small earthquakes, with the largest being a 6.9 magnitude quake that rocked the entire Big Island on Friday, the largest there since 1975.

See the full article and additional images HERE