Tiny island likely part of fissure 8 flow

  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY photo

    A tiny new island of lava formed on the northernmost part of the fissure 8 ocean entry. During Friday morning’s overflight, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s field crew noticed the island was oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline.

A small island has appeared offshore from where lava from fissure 8 enters the ocean.

The island, discovered by a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crew during an overflight of the lower Puna eruption Friday morning, appeared a few yards offshore from the northernmost part of fissure 8’s broad ocean entry.

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A statement from HVO concluded that the island — about 20-30 feet in diameter — is probably a part of the fissure 8 flow and might be a lava tumulus, a naturally occurring dome-shaped form in the surface of lava created when upward pressure of slow-moving lava pushes the surface of the flow up.

Whatever its provenance, the tiny island was oozing lava Friday morning.

In other volcano-related news, residents of Leilani Estates west of Pomaikai Street might be eligible for rental assistance. Even if residents who voluntarily evacuated the subdivision were previously denied rental assistance on the grounds that their homes are still habitable, they could still qualify for assistance because of a change in eligibility guidelines, said Renee Bafalis, media relations specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Bafalis encouraged Leilani Estates residents to visit the Disaster Recovery Center at Keaau High School to request an inspection to determine if they are eligible for rental assistance. The center is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekends.

On Friday, Hawaii County Civil Defense updated its official tally of homes destroyed by lava to 706.

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