News Alerts

04 Jun 2018 | 02:50 PM UTC

US: Increase in seismic activity near Kilauea volcano June 3-4 /update 15

United States of America News Alert

Increase in seismic activity near Kilauea volcano June 3-4; several people stranded near Kapoho June 4

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/4/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/11/2018, 11:59 PM (US/Hawaii). COUNTRY/REGION Hawaii

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Event

On Sunday, June 3, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded at the Kilauea volcano. The quake caused an eruption, resulting in a plume of ash reaching up to 8000 feet (2400 meters) into the atmosphere. According to the US Coast Guard's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, some 500 earthquakes were recorded in the Kilauea area on Sunday. Lava flows from the volcano reportedly trapped around 15 people in the Kapoho area and three people were airlifted out of the area; 12 remain stranded as of June 4.

A mandatory evacuation order issued on May 31 by the Hawaiian authorities for a portion of Leilani Estates remains in effect as of June 4. A "red" level aviation alert also remains in effect for the area, indicating that a major volcanic eruption is "imminent, underway, or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air." The initial decision to issue such warning, made by the US Geological Survey (USGS) on May 15, came amid intensifying ash eruptions and the production of rock projectiles from volcanic explosions.

Additional lava, gas, and ash eruptions are expected at Kilauea and the East Rift Zone in the coming days. Consequent transportation disruptions and evacuations are possible in the near-term. Notably, flight disruptions due to the presence of ash in the atmosphere are possible at Kona International Airport (KOA).

Context

Residents on the Island of Hawai'i near the ongoing eruptions have been told to be prepared to evacuate on short notice; around 2500 people have already been evacuated in recent weeks. Several earthquakes have shaken the area, the strongest of which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. At least 75 homes have been destroyed by recent lava eruptions. Lava has also damaged and destroyed power and telephone lines, causing associated power outages and communications disruptions.

Kilauea began erupting on May 3. Most of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 as a precaution. US President Donald Trump has declared a state of major disaster in Hawaii, making federal funding available for recovery operations.

Advice

Individuals in Hawaii are advised to avoid the affected area, monitor the situation, confirm flight reservations, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin from ashfall in affected areas.

 

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