Fissure 8 possibly weakening; others possibly awakening in Leilani

  • USGS An aerial photograph taken Tuesday morning shows the remains of Kapoho Beach Lots and what used to be Kapoho Bay.
  • USGS map, Tuesday, June 5

The fissure fueling the lava flow that destroyed Kapoho and Vacationland shows signs of slowing down, while other fissures in Leilani Estates show signs of reawakening.

Wes Thelen, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, said fissure 8, which has vigorously erupted for more than a week, appears to be weakening.


Observations by USGS have determined that the height of the lava fountains from fissure 8 — a simple measure of a fissure’s general activity — has dropped noticeably from previous heights of nearly 200 feet.

Furthermore, Thelen said, parts of the walls of the lava channel extending from fissure 8 to the ocean have started to collapse. This is because the volume of lava in the channel has lessened and the walls have less support.

Thelen said the flow does not currently appear to be at risk of breaking through the collapsing channel walls and flooding new areas.

However, Thelen said, fissures 9 and 10 show some signs of reawakening, with the vents releasing high amounts of heat and volcanic gases. Fissures 9 and 10 are two of the most southwesterly of all the existing vents, located southwest of the main flow, along the southern edge of Leilani Estates, an area relatively safe from lava up until now.


Thelen said the lava delta in the former Kapoho Bay is not at risk of collapsing, because Kapoho Bay was a fairly shallow part of the ocean. Even if the delta reaches deeper waters, Thelen said it will not likely have enough mass to cause any substantial tsunami.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said Crater Rim Drive has sustained damage to its surface after repeated earthquakes around Kilauea summit. However, the damage is primarily concentrated on a part of the road that is not a potential evacuation route connecting Chain of Craters Road to Crater Rim Drive.

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