Hawaii volcano update: Warnings issued for two MONTHS – damaging earthquakes, ash plumes

Friday, July 6, 2018
By Paul Martin

HAWAII’s Kilauea volcano is continuing to destroy Big Island as more warnings have been issued for the next two months about damaging earthquakes, ash plumes and ground cracking.

Fri, Jul 6, 2018

The US Geological Survey has published an update on the current activity and hazard at and around the summit of Kilauea Volcano.

Since the volcano became active in 1983, magma from the mantle has continually risen beneath the summit, passed through the magma store system and spewed out the summit towards the East Rift Zone.

Kilauea has been erupting since May 3, which has caused thousands of residents from Leilani Estates, Vacationland, and Kapoho Bay to be evacuated.

What will happen over the next two months?

The most likely activity includes earthquakes large enough to be damaging, as well as small to intermediate ash plumes that remain below 10,000 feet above sea level.

A large section of the Halema`uma`u wall could abruptly collapse into the crater, but it will be difficult for USGs to predict how large the collapse might be.

The collapse is most likely to create seismic shaking and a robust ash plume.

If this activity continues, there may be more earthquakes exceeding the equivalent of 5.0-magnitude.

There could be ash plumes and ash fall, as well as further large and sudden collapses into the expanding Halema`uma`u crater.

The ground could crack and rockfall activity could continue along the steep caldera walls.

People on the island may also be at risk of vog air pollution, although sulphur dioxide output is said to be approaching low pre-2008 levels.

Volcanologists are also considering less likely scenarios that cannot be ruled out.

A larger explosion could occur during ongoing subsidence in and around Halema`uma`u.

Activity could become more hazardous over short time scales, due to rapid pressure change or the opening of new pathways between the reservoir and the surface, as well as magma coming in to contact with groundwater.

Groundwater could enter the magmatic system and produce steam-driven explosive eruptions.

If larger explosions do occur their style and magnitude cannot be predicted; it is possible that they could produce more ballistics and ash, and possibly also pyroclastic surges.

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