Lava from the lower east rift zone of Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano has now destroyed more than 110 homes on the Big Island, with another 30 lost over the weekend as the flow from the month-long eruption cut a path through a residential area in Kapoho Bay.
While most of the fissures that opened up last month are now inactive, Fissure 8 is busy, pushing lava fountains 75 metres (250 feet) into the sky at temperatures of up to 1115°C (2040°F). The 800-metre-wide (0.5 mile) front of the lava flow, which has now covered more than 20km sq of land (8ml sq) had been advancing at around 76 metres an hour (250ft/hr) and hit the the ocean in Kapoho Bay around 10.30pm Sunday (local time), creating spectacular plumes of steam.
But there’s also danger in what’s known as a laze – a deadly combination of steam, hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles (dubbed Pele’s hair) – created when the lava hits the water.
Hawaii County authorities say the lava has now destroyed at least 117 homes, having already cut a destructive path through the residential areas of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens in the Puna district.
Here’s the lava from Fissure 8 in Kapoho Bay, 24 hours earlier on Sunday morning.
Fissure 8 crosses Highway 132.
A map of the lava flows from the east rift zone on June 4, 2018. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015.
A thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows on Sunday, June 3 as the flow from Fissure 8 continues to advance towards the ocean in Kapoho Bay. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as grayscale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas.
Lava from Fissure 8 rising about 50m (160ft) on the weekend.
Thermal images of the Fissure 8 lava fountain show how much it grew late last week and a pu‘u (cone) has built up downwind.
This is the Fissure 8 flow last Thursday.
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