News Alerts

17 Jul 2018 | 12:13 AM UTC

US: Eruptions continue at Kilauea and East Rift Zone June 20 /update 17

United States of America News Alert

Volcanic eruptions continue at Kilauea and East Rift Zone as of June 20; additional eruptions expected in the coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/20/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/27/2018, 11:59 PM (US/Hawaii). COUNTRY/REGION Hawaii

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Event

Gas, ash, and lava eruptions have continued at Kilauea and the lower East Rift Zone as of Wednesday, June 20. According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, lava fountaining and volcanic gas emissions continued on Wednesday from Fissure 8 in the lower East Rift Zone, with lava continuing to reach the Pacific Ocean at the Kapoho coastline. Continuing gas emissions from the fissure and changing winds are expected to bring vog (volcanic air pollution) to most of the Island of Hawai'i in the coming days. Several other fissures also remain active in the East Rift Zone. At 04:22 (local time) on Wednesday, a collapse at the summit of Kilauea emitted a plume of gas and ash which was carried downwind; the eruption was recorded at magnitude 5.3 on the Richter scale.

A "red" level aviation alert remains in effect for Kilauea as of June 20, 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 in the coming hours and days, including 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; thousands of people have already been evacuated in recent weeks. Several earthquakes have shaken the area since Kilauea's initial eruption on May 3. Lava has damaged and destroyed power and telephone lines, causing associated power outages and communications disruptions.

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 areas, 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. An up-to-date map of recent lava flows can be found here from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

 

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