Fears surrounding the future of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has escalated this morning following a shock “explosive event” at the Halemaumau Crater.
The crater has been gradually collapsing in the last week before the sudden explosion this morning, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Scientists confirmed the “large explosion” had the energy of a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, adding that volcanic emissions remain “very high”.
The explosion marks the sixth day in a row where an event – explosion or earthquake – registered above magnitude-5.0 at the summit, reports Earthsky.
Experts at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center rushed to deny that a tsunami had been triggered following the strong explosion, as uncertainty over the next huge eruptions persist.
New aerial video from the US Geological Survey, captured during a helicopter flight over the East Rift Zone on Thursday, shows the extent of the devastation caused by the ongoing eruption. The coastline ravaged by the lava flowing from Fissure 8 is about a mile long, and it’s turned into a complete wasteland. Rivers of lava continue to flow, and the rock that’s left behind is as black and charred as you’d imagine.
“A helicopter overflight video of the lower East Rift Zone on June 14, 2018, around 6:00 AM, shows lava fountaining at fissure 8 feeding channelized lava flows that flow into the ocean,” said the USGS. “Lava is still flowing out of fissure 8 unabated and the channel is full. At the start of the video, standing waves in the lava channel can be seen near the vent exit. The channel appears crust-free from vent to the bend around Kapoho Crater. A surface crust forms over the channel as it spreads out during its approach to the ocean. The overflight along the ocean entry is from north to south along the coastline. The ocean entry is active along the whole length – approximately 1 mile. Small litoral explosions are occurring and there are several plumes of laze.”
The explosive news come after the revelations that Kilauea volcano has experienced a series of volatile earthquakes.
Seismicity on Thursday recorded 40 earthquakes an hour, with five of those greater than magnitude-3.
According to officials, fissure 8 in the East Rift Zone remains very active, with lava fountains reaching as high as 170 feet in the air.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) also reported that fissures 16 and 18 continue to ooze deadly lava.
Health authorities have warned that strong winds could spread toxic vog across island, describing what they forecast as a “heavy blanket” of volcanic fog.
The lava has spread over 6,000 acres of land.
Kilauea’s eruptions is set to be the most destructive and expensive disaster in US history.
At the same time as the explosive events at the summit, the Halemaumau crater continues to collapse in on itself.
Scientists are unclear over the consequences if this inward collapse continues over the next week, but some fear the volcano could suffer a cataclysmic eruption, causing mass casualties.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
June 17th, 2018