In a story originally covered in TNB on May 5 of this year, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted violently. The eruption was abnormally strong and triggered lava flows, but it was hoped at the time it would quickly subside.
Counter to hopes, things got worse. More eruptions followed. Lava streams destroyed houses. Laze, formed when lava struck ocean water, filled the air with clouds of vaporous acid and sharp silicate particulate, both dangerous to breathe. Small lava balls were launched into the air to injure people and set property ablaze. (TNB)
Friday, more than three months after the initial eruption, local experts at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory dropped the alert level from “Warning” to “Watch”.
Earlier this month, after months of violent eruptions that added more than 850 acres of land to coastal areas of Hawaii Island, volcanic activity across the area stopped ‘almost completely,’ according to scientists with the observatory. In an interview with Hawaii News Now on Friday morning, the agency reiterated that it couldn’t say for certain whether the eruption was over — despite having lowered the alert level.
Hawaii News Now
“The change does not mean with absolute certainty that the LERZ (Lower East Rift Zone) eruption or summit collapses are over. It remains possible that eruption and collapse activity could resume.”
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has begun assessing damage, looking at ways to at least partially re-open the state’s largest tourist attraction. (WTOP)
More than 700 homes were destroyed by the successive eruptions. Scores of people are still displaced, although community efforts have seen many others of the hundreds who’d lost their houses provided with temporary shelter. Through it all, though, the Hawaiian people have managed to press forward, with no reported deaths directly attributable to the massively destructive eruption.