Hawaii lava crosses key highway, destroys utility poles

Glen Norman
June 1, 2018

It has been 27 days since the massive eruption of Kilauea sent lava gushing from cracks, spreading destruction through communities in the southeastern corner of Hawaii's Big Island.

The Hawaii community hardest hit by the Kilauea Volcano was ordered sealed off under a strict new mandatory evacuation on Thursday as the eruption marked its fourth week with no end in sight.

All residents of Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots are advised to evacuate and complete their evacuation by 6:00 p.m., tomorrow, Friday, June 1, 2018, or risk the possibility of being isolated.

Earlier this week, a fast-moving lava flow burned down 12 homes while lava fountains shot up to 250 feet into the air. If these lava flows reach the intersection of highways 132 and 137 a large area along the coast and highway 137 will be cut off and become completely inaccessible.

"We should also note that cellphone towers and regular landlines have been heavily damaged in the area, and so there may be reduce service", said USGS volcanologist Jessica Ball. They estimated violent eruptions of molten rock spewing out of a nearby fissure - Fissure 8 - were burning through anything in its path at a rate of 600 yards per hour.

Ash is still erupting from Kilauea's summit, Ball added, in addition to seismic activity and gas output.

The lava is bubbling from a particularly violent fissure - or volcanic crack in the Earth's surface - called Fissure 8. Any residents remaining should evacuate now. "I've got close friends in Leilani, which we helped evacuate a couple weeks ago, and now it's our turn". Those who choose to ignore the orders will have to fend for themselves, Kim said. In the eastern part of the active lower rift, fissure 18 also continues to erupt lava which feeds a lava flow that is slowly traveling eastward and might eventually create a new ocean entry.

"We're going to have to say no, that's not safe", the agency's volcanos account replied Monday, saying if the vent was belching volcanic gases, such as sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide, the roasted marshmallows "would taste bad".

Meanwhile, back on Hawaii's Big Island, Pahoa residents were told Tuesday to be on the lookout for Pele's hair - sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers. The Civil Defense Agency warned it could cause injury if it got in residents' eyes or was breathed in. The ocean entries that were previously created by lava flows from fissure 22 are now inactive, but a new flow fed from the central part of the fissure system is slowly making its way just west of the previous flow channels and might reach the ocean near Mackenzie State park.

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