Kīlauea’s lava melts 700 Hawaiian homes as violent eruptions spew ash, earthquakes strike

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
June 13, 2018, 4:55:47 AM EDT

Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano has been erupting since May 3, and according to the county of Hawaii's civil defense agency, another small explosion occurred on Sunday morning.

The steam explosion spewed ash plumes over Ka'u, the southernmost district of the Big Island. The eruption happened 38 days after Kīlauea’s initial explosion which sent lava, ash and toxic gases throughout Hawaii’s largest island.

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This image is from a temporary research camera positioned near Kapoho looking southwest. From left to right, one can see the eruptive fissures, with Fissure 15 on the far left, and Fissure 8 near the center. Webcam image taken Sunday, June 10, 2018 courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that the eruption continues in the lower East Rift Zone. Fissure 8 continues to produce a large channelized flow that is entering the ocean at Kapoho Bay and producing a large laze plume.

A 5.3 magnitude volcanic eruption occurred early Monday morning about 3 miles west-southwest of the Kilauea Volcano, according to the USGS.

The earthquake was associated with an ash explosion that happened around 04:43 a.m. local time from the Halema'uma'u crater, the USGS reported.

Another 5.3 magnitude volcanic eruption occurred Tuesday morning. It happened about the same distance away from the volcano. This earthquake was also associated with an ash explosion from the Halema'uma'u crater, according to the USGS.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported no tsunami threats following these events.

The USGS also stated that this event's plume was similar to past events that have sent ash clouds up to 10,000 feet in the air and drifted southwest, with possible ash fall at downwind locations.

According to the county of Hawaii civil defense agency, severe conditions may exist such as inability to breathe and choking. The agency said this is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population.

“I’m talking about 600 families. Don’t forget the farmers, don’t forget the ranchers, don’t forget all the employees for them,” Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said. Mayor Kim’s home was also destroyed by the volcano.

At least 700 homes have been destroyed by lava since he eruptions began, Kim told Hawaii News Now.

The lava that continues to spew from Kīlauea has reached a new high temperature of 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit.

"This is the hottest lava we've seen during this eruption," Wendy Stovall, a scientist with USGS, on Hawaii News Now said.

"Lava can't get hotter than where we are," Stovall said.

Sulfur dioxide emissions coming from a number of ground fissures caused by the active volcano still remain elevated. The pungent chemical compound can cause respiratory problems in low doses and can be deadly when found in large concentrations.

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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano remains active; Hundreds forced from homes
How Hawaii’s Kīlauea Volcano eruption compares to others around the world

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports volcanic gas emissions remain very high from fissure eruptions. Due to the elevated gas levels, if you feel the effects of gas exposure, shelter-in-place or leave the immediate area.

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