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Kilauea Lava Flow Could Affect Thousands on Hawaiʻi Island

Posted by feww on September 5, 2014

SCENARIOS 787, 444, 070, 047, 017, 07, 02

Lava from Kilauea Volcano advancing 250 meters per day

Hawai‘i County Mayor has signed a state of emergency proclamation due to  the advancing lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area after the flow extended to less than 1.5km from the edge of the Ka‘ohe Homesteads subdivision, said the mayor’s office.

It’s believed that at least 8,211 people (based on 2010 Census) residing in the subdivision of Hawaiian Beaches are directly threatened by the lava flow. However, the number is unrepresentative of the present population since the District of Puna is the fastest growing population in the State, said the Mayor’s Proclamation.

“We are taking this step to ensure our residents have time to prepare their families, their pets, and their livestock for a safe and orderly evacuation from Ka‘ohe in the event the flow continues to advance,” said Mayor Kenoi.

No evacuation orders have yet been issued, said Hawaii County Civil Defense; however, the risk of lava flow affecting the  subdivision is increasing daily.

Kilauea Volcano Warning Issued by Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 10:45 AM HST (2014-09-04 @ 20:45UTC)

Volcanic Activity Summary: On June 27, 2014, new vents opened on the northeast flank of the Pu‘u ‘O‘o cone that fed a narrow lava flow to the east-northeast. On August 18, the flow entered a ground crack, traveled underground for several days, then resurfaced to form a small lava pad. The sequence was repeated twice more over the following days with lava entering other cracks and reappearing farther downslope. In this way, the flow had advanced approximately 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent, or to within 1.3 km (0.8 miles) of the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve, by the afternoon of September 3. Overnight, lava did not appear to advance farther east within the crack system, but surface flows advanced about 100 m to the northeast. At the average rate of advancement of 250 m/day (820 ft/day) since July 10, we project that lava could reach the Kaohe Homesteads boundary within 5-7 days should lava resume advancing within the crack system.

Kaohe Homesteads is located between the Wao Kele o Puna Forest Reserve and the town of Pāhoa in the Puna District of the County of Hawai`i.

Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Recent Observations:
[Volcanic cloud height] SO2, low ash emissions continue from Kīlauea caldera, TFR in place.
[Other volcanic cloud information] none
[Lava flow/dome] June 27th Lava Flow continues to advance.

Hazard Analysis:
[Lava flow/dome] Lava Flow from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent could advance to Kaohe Homesteads within a week.

Remarks: The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent in the East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano began erupting on January 3, 1983, and has continued erupting for more than 31 years, with the majority of lava flows advancing to the south. Over the past two years, lava flows have issued from the vent toward the northeast. The June 27th flow is the most recent of these flows and the first to threaten a residential area since 2010-2011.

June 27th lava flow front reemerges from ground crack, continues advancing eastward (HVO)

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with lava at the flow front issuing from a ground crack and advancing through thick forest, creating dense plumes of smoke. The farthest lava this afternoon was 13.2 km (8.2 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the eastern boundary of the Wao Kele o Puna forest reserve. This forest reserve boundary is at the western boundary of Kaohe Homesteads subdivision, a portion of which is visible at the bottom of the photograph. (Source: HVO)

The surface flows at the front of the June 27th lava flow are fed by lava that is supplied through a lava tube that originates at the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This thermal image shows the lava tube close to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Although the lava is several meters (yards) beneath the surface, it heats the surface sufficiently to be easily detected with thermal cameras. 

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