Steady flow of lava to ocean continues from fissure 8

  • Lava continues to erupt at a high rate from Fissure 8 and flow within the established channel to the ocean. (USGS photo)

The eruption on Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone has covered 6,144 acres in lava and destroyed more than 637 homes since its start May 3, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Fissure 8 in Leilani Estates continued to feed a large channelized flow Saturday to the ocean. Billowing laze plumes were occurring along the 0.6-mile-long ocean entry in Kapoho.

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Steve Brantely, deputy scientist-in-charge at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said in an email that frequent earthquakes at the summit have damaged the HVO building at the edge of the caldera, but the long-term use of the facility is not known at this time. HVO scientists have relocated to the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus.

While Halema‘uma‘u crater has expanded significantly, he said there is no evidence yet of the land under HVO and Jaggar Museum “slipping wholesale” into the caldera.

“There are some ground cracks that have appeared through the HVO parking lot and adjacent to the building, but these are small (centimeter scale) a few meters long, and do not represent a section of the site breaking away,” Brantley said.

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A Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman said it’s doubtful Jaggar Museum, also located at the site, can be reused due to quake damage.

Neither facility has been structurally assessed because of hazards from frequent ash emissions and collapse explosions at the summit. The park remains closed except for the Kahuku unit.

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