I am following the eruption at Kilauea very closely. It is just a few miles from where we stayed just a few months ago, and two of the lovely people we met and kept in touch with from the meeting there have been displaced by the eruption.
I feel rather personal about it as a result…some of the streets we drove on are now covered in lava. My friends are having trouble breathing because of ash and gases.
I had the privilege of being in a news briefing from USGS yesterday on the eruption, and thought I’d share with you the HOT news.
This volcano’s not done yet. There is a steady decrease in lava in the lake at the summit, that lava is building elsewhere. Picture your kitchen sink drain. Its full in the basin, but you pull the plug and it drains down the pipe. But instead
of draining down to the sewer, it just moves towards the bathroom. Some of it is coming up the drain in the bathtub, but pressure is building and it will likely explode.
The other piece with this lava lake, is that rocks are falling into the lava pit, and are exploding back up into the air. When the lava goes down far enough, water will flow over the lava and create steam. The rocks from the unsupported
walls fall into the steam, and a pressure seal builds and then 4 ton boulders are flying half a mile away. Pebbles will be raining for miles. We aren’t talking smooth soft shiny pebbles either, these pebbles are sharp and pointy and can cut the shit out of
you before you even know you’ve been cut. Volcanic rock is no joke. Anyway, USGS is saying this point could be reached as soon as next week, but they can’t predict when it will happen.
Outside of the shelters that are currently in place, there are not many resources for those displaced from the volcano. About 1800 people right now have been evacuated, and as of now, 26 homes are destroyed. Most, if not all of those homes
were uninsured, so those people have literally lost everything. And USGS says there are counselors, but not much else for resources. I am wondering how those people are going to find new housing. There is some food for the displaced persons, but I don’t think
there’s a lot of help going on over there right now. People will need places to live, and who knows what that will look like.
My information comes from the news briefing from USGS at 11AM HST on May 9th. I’m hoping I can get on the next call, so we will see if I can get more information on this.
Ash plume rises above Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, May 3rd 2018