We humans may wish for many things, but gravity is a horse we can’t wish away. And this horse drives what is happening at Kilauea.
So far, the new stage of the old Kilauea eruption that started about one week ago has given us a very small subsidence caldera, a large earthquake, drained two lava lakes, and given us a rifting fissure eruption at the Leilani Estates. And the force of gravity is behind it all, because in the end all things must come down.
There is also a great mystery that needs to be solved. And that is were all the disappearing magma have gone. After all, roughly 0.3 cubic kilometres of magma have intruded into the East Rift, and only about 0.0001 cubic kilometre has erupted.
The last thing has so far saved most of the homes of the residents of Leilani Estate, but it might not be such good news in the long run.
But first things first, we must go back to the beginnings of the current iteration of Kilauea to understand what is happening.
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Lava from Kilauea’s summit lava lake has spilled out of the Overlook crater rim onto the floor of Halemaumau Crater “several times” in the past day, including this morning, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported today.
Scientists at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report that the magma system beneath Kilauea’s Puu Oo cone has become increasingly pressurized, a fact that could lead to the formation of a new vent and lava flow.
Steven Brantley, deputy scientist in charge at the observatory, said today that observations and measurements over the past month have led to the conclusion that a new vent could soon form.
Emergency responders rescued more than 200 people by helicopter today after they were stranded on Kauai’s North Shore following a severe storm that walloped the island this weekend.
Sarah Blane, Kauai County spokeswoman, said by phone that rescuers airlifted 212 people from Wainiha and Haena after they were cut off from the rest of the island by landslides on Kuhio Highway past Hanalei Bay. Rescuers took them to Kilauea Gym in Hanalei.
NORTH SHORE, Kauai — It was the buffalo standing in the surf at Hanalei Beach that did it, reinforcing the reality that the weekend storm that rocked Kauai was different beyond conceivable description.
For 36 hours — and, as this is written, this epic storm is not over and a flash flood warning continues in effect for a couple more hours — Kauai has withstood the storm of all storms. The poor buffalo, loose from a herd nearby, could not have been more bewildered than the island’s humans, both residents and visitors.
There was thunder so intense it shook houses at the level of a strong earthquake and rain so heavy that more than 28 inches fell in 24 hours between Saturday night and Sunday morning in Hanalei. It brought Kauai, sometimes literally, to its knees over the weekend.