2018-05-07 00:26:26 UTC
The entire place might burn up. Then he really won't have a birth
certificate unless somebody rescues the fake.
Less than a week ago, Leilani Estates was the picture of serenity on
Hawaiis Big Island, a subdivision in the islands eastern Puna district
filled with wooden homes nestled in tropical plant-filled lots.
The eruption of the islands most active volcano changed everything.
Shortly after Kilauea erupted Thursday, the ground split open on the east
side of Leilani Estates, exposing an angry red beneath the lush landscape.
From the widening gash, molten rock burbled and splashed, then shot as
high as 80 to 100 feet in the air.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency called it active volcanic
fountaining. Some residents insisted it was Pele, the Hawaiian volcano
goddess, come to reclaim her land. Residents there were ordered to flee
amid threats of fires and extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur
Soon, another such fissure had formed less than three streets to the west.
Then another, and another. From the vents, hot steam and noxious gases
rose, before magma broke through and splattered into the air.
As of Sunday morning local time, at least 10 such fissure vents were
reported in the neighborhood, including two that had opened anew late
Saturday night. The fissures are forming along a northeast-southwest line
in the rift zone, and not all of the older fissures are actively spewing
lava, said Wendy Stovall, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
As the eruption progresses, there will become a preferred pathway for the
magma to go through, Stovall said. Some of the outer vents along this
fissure line will start to close up and congeal because the lava is going
to essentially harden.
Once that happens, lava fountains from the remaining open vents can shoot
even higher reaching up to 1,000 feet, Stovall said. On Saturday, lava
from one of the newer fissures spurted as high as 230 feet into the air,
according to the Geological Survey.
More outbreaks are likely to occur along the rift zone, officials said.
Drone footage showed lava spouting along the fissures that had formed,
creeping toward Leilani Estates homes and leaving lines of smoldering
trees in their wake. The flows destroyed or cut off several streets in the
neighborhood, typically home to about 1,700 people before most of them
evacuated last week.
Meanwhile, over the past few days, some photographers have followed the
fissures, posting dramatic photos and videos of lava spattering into the
air or oozing across roads. Officials have urged everyone to leave Leilani
Estates, where a mandatory evacuation order remains in force.
Being in Hawaii and being around lava you get used to the way it behaves
and so you kind of become comfortable around it, Stovall said. [The lava
flows] are mesmerizing to see. I understand why people want to see them
but its not advisable. Its a dangerous situation.
The county civil defense agency put it more bluntly in an advisory Sunday:
Please, the residents of Leilani need your help by staying out of the
area. This is not the time for sightseeing.
The agency announced Sunday that certain Leilani Estates residents might
be able to return briefly to their homes to retrieve pets, medicine or
important items left behind but would need to leave immediately
afterward because of the very unstable conditions of air quality and of
At least nine homes in the subdivision have been destroyed by fire,
according to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.
This is a very fast-moving situation, Kim told Hawaii News Now. This is
unfortunately not the end.
Pay back is a bitch.