Since May 3rd, Hawaii’s most active volcano, Kliauea, has been emitting lava and molten rock and destroying at least 26 homes, prompting evacuations, especially in the local Leilani Estates residential area. Over the days the volcano had been impacting the area, photos and videos have come out showcasing the situation.
The eruption is actually normal for the area
While the story seems like a current event, this technically isn’t the case. In reality, the Kilauea volcano has been erupting without interruption since 1983, according to the US Geological Survey, as it sits on a hot spot in the middle of the Pacific plate with large amounts of magma. What makes this recent eruption notable is the fact that it’s impacting a residential area.
According to The Verge, Janine Krippner, a volcanologist at Concord University, issued the following statement over the recent volcanic interruption:
“What we’re seeing right now is pretty normal for the Kilauea activity”
“It’s coming out right below these people’s homes.”
The situation has notably lent itself to video captures and time-lapses in recent days. One notable video showcased lava engulfing a car and impacting a fence in the area.
What’s happening in the area?
Over the past few days, magma was traveling down the East Rift Zone, an area where the rocks that make up the volcano are split, which allows the lava to emit, essentially dropping 721 feet (or 220 meters) below the crater’s rim.
Cracks called fissures have also been opening up in the area due to the magma building up pressure underground and fracturing the land. Normally, the lava moves pretty slowly, but it can also develop into lava fountains, which are extremely gassy and can shoot out quickly.
At this time, it’s hard to say how long this most recent eruption will last, as confirmed by Krippner. The volcano’s history also complicates estimates, as one that began in May 2016 ended only a few days ago. Ultimately, the only sure thing we can say is, well, it will end when it ends. That’s normally how things work.