- May 14, 2018
Hawaii Island about to Blow: Tsunami Alert!
Visitors to and residents of the Big Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of the same name have marveled and gawked at the live volcano Kilauea as it burped and gurgled boiling hot lava into the Pacific Ocean.
But all of a sudden, volcanic activity in Hawaii has become alarmingly dangerous. On May 9, 2018, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park announced that it would close Friday, May 11 due to a possible explosive “steam event” at Mount Kilauea Summit.
It seems the surface elevation of the lava lake at the summit of volcano Kilauea has been dropping, and this is not good because it could presage a major eruption. The lava conduit which feeds the lake is getting lower and lower. As it drops, it approaches sea level.
If the lava descends to the water table, the result is a massive cloud of steam. The force is so great the Geological Survey is calling it a “steam event” – oooh.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park estimates that the steam event could happen as soon as May 13, 2018.
The National Park Service (NPS) has explained that as long as the lava remains above sea level, the volcano will continue “blowing off steam” normally, sending up grayish-black plumes of particles, steam, and gas. But if the steam plume stops, it means evacuate the area now!
The NPS anticipates that this steam event could be bigger and more destructive than previous Hawaiian eruptions in 1912 and 1924. The pressure is estimated to be strong enough to lob multi-ton boulders (called “ejecta”) out of the lava conduit. The 1924 eruption deposited 1/2-inch ejecta more than two miles from the crater.
After the ejecta fallout, the volcano spews choking, clogging, toxic ash.
Making bad matters worse, every 350-400 years, solar activity causes a shift of our global weather patterns called a grand solar minimum event. Researchers Zharkova, Shepherd, Popova and Zharkov formulated the “heartbeat of the sun” which accounts for major sunspot activity. The scientists predicted that we are entering a grand solar minimum period right now. If so, expect weather events to amplify by four times in 2018-2019, jumping to six times greater in 2019.
Coincidentally – or causally? – volcanic activity at Kilauea increased during previous grand solar minimum events.
Anyone still taking pictures of this historic event in the national park or within a couple of miles of the volcanic observatory or crater rim is risking death by a bombardment of fiery boulders, toxic gases, and debris.
Pressure under the earth continues to build up and needs other places to escape. New vents have opened up recently, and unexpectedly, near the town of Leilani. 26 houses have been destroyed in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, home to some 1800 people. Hawaii County ordered the subdivisions evacuated last week.
A total of 15 lava fissures (as of this writing) have broken through the earth. Those in Leilani are distanced a full 20 miles away from Pu’u O’o, the former active vent.
Pu’u O’o, the crater at Kilauea, has sealed itself up by collapsing in on itself. The lava that used to come out there has been redirected elsewhere, into oddly parallel, straight-line vents on both the east and west sides of Kilauea.
Roads are blocked off in Leilani which is located in the East Rift Zone where the new steam areas are breaking through. More new sewing machine needle-like vents are expected to appear in coming weeks.
If a steam eruption occurs, all of southeastern Hawaii Island, including the towns of Leilani and Hilo, will be covered in thick ashfall, similar to what happened after Mount Saint Helens erupted in Washington state in 1980. Tradewinds could pick up the ash and rain it down again from 20,000 feet, as happened in 1924.
In the 1960s, Hilo was struck by a tsunami after a steam event. CBS News reported that an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile generated the devastating ocean wave:
“Hilo Bay area on [the] island of Hawaii was hit hard by the 35-foot wave, which destroyed or damaged more than 500 homes and businesses. Sixty-one people died. Damage was estimated at $75 million.”
The New York Times quoted the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency which emphasized that outsiders should stay away:
“This is not the time for sightseeing.”
In addition, the article adds that Hawaii Island “has been hit by hundreds of earthquakes in recent days, including one Friday that had a magnitude of 6.9.”
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said that fountains of lava have reached 330 feet high. Creeping molten lava is swallowing roads and cars, along with everything else in its path.
This is no joke, Dear Readers. Everyone on the Big Island needs an emergency plan with possible evacuation route. People who live near coastlines in America and Asia, along the Pacific Rim Basin, that could be hit by tsunamis also need to prepare to seek higher ground – before all their neighbors decide to do so, clogging the roads and bridges, not to mention airports, bus terminals, and train stations.
It only takes about six hours after a massive eruption in Hawaii for a resultant tsunami to reach the western shores of North America, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. It takes nine hours for the killer wave to get to Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China.
Don’t be scared, be prepared…to get the heck out of Dodge, that is.