Saturday, May 05, 2018

USGS/Civil Defense Updates On Kilauea Volcano & Earthquake Swarm


The Kilauea volcano, located on the eastern side of the big island of Hawaii, has been active for more than 35 years, with the present eruption starting in 1982.
In recent days its level of volcanic and seismic activity has increased markedly , resulting in fissures opening in the ground, lava and gas releases, and hundreds of earthquakes. 
The USGS and their Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) are monitoring the situation closely, emergency management officials have ordered partial evacuations of the area, and have asked others to be ready to move if necessary.

Yesterday's M6.9 earthquake was the strongest since the 1975 M7.4 quake (in roughly the same area) which generated a 14 meter tsunami, and killed two people.  Since yesterday's big temblor, more than 100 M2.5 - M4.5 quakes have been registered.

The latest update from the HVO reads:

U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, May 4, 2018, 4:04 PM HST (Saturday, May 5, 2018, 02:04 UTC)

19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Eruption of lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano continues. Several additional eruptive fissures or vents - each several hundred yards long - have opened over the past day. No significant lava flows have yet formed. Spatter and lava are accumulating primarily within a few tens of yards of the vent.

The sixth and most recent fissure is on the eastern edge of the subdivision. Not all fissure vents remain active and no far-traveled lava flows have formed.

For maps showing the locations of these features, please see

HVO geologists will be in the area overnight to track additional activity that may occur, and other scientists are closely tracking the volcano's overall activity using various monitoring data streams.

Seismicity and deformation are consistent with continued accumulation of magma within the rift zone. Additional outbreaks of lava are expected.

Residents should remain informed and heed Hawaii County Civil Defense messages (

The latest alert from the Hawaii County Civil Defense reads:

Eruption Update for Friday May 4 at 4:44 PM

This is a Civil Defense update for Friday May 4, 2018 at 4:44 PM.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms the volcanic eruption continues in Leilani Subdivision in the Puna District. Active volcanic vents are located on Makamae, Kaupili and Mohala Streets. New vents have opened near Kahukai and Pohoiki Road. There is no activity at Puna Geothermal Venture at this time. PGV is secured.
All residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivision are on evacuation notice. Police, Fire and County agencies along with the National Guard are assisting with evacuation.
Due to the eruption, the following are issued:

·         Department of Water Supply reports an Emergency Water Restriction is now in effect for Leilani Estates, Nānāwale Estates, Kapoho and Lanipuna Gardens. ALL Water Supply customers must immediately restrict water use to health and safety needs only.
·         A community meeting will be held tonight at Pahoa High School Cafeteria at 5:30 PM. Information will be shared about the status of the volcanic activity in Leilani Estates.
·         United States Postal Service announced that evacuated residents can pick up their mail at the Pahoa Post Office. In addition, the downtown Hilo Post Office is closed until further notice due to structural damage from today’s earthquake.
·         Hawaii Fire Department reports extremely dangerous air quality conditions due to high levels of Sulfur Dioxide gas in the evacuation area. Elderly, young, and people with compromised respiratory systems are especially vulnerable.
·         The high levels detected are an immediate threat to life for all who become exposed. First responders may not be able to come to the aid of residents who refuse to evacuate.
·         The area continues to be unstable with multiple volcanic eruptions happening. No one is allowed into the area.  Do not attempt to return to your home at this time.  
·         All residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions have been placed on evacuation status.  The Pahoa Community Center is available as a pet friendly shelter, and the Kea’au Community Center has been established as an alternative pet friendly evacuation center farther away for those sensitive to vog.  Call Civil Defense at 935-0031 for any emergency needs.
·         Residents evacuating should bring an emergency evacuation supply kit including necessary medicine, food, and necessary items for your comfort if possible.

County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation. You will be informed of any conditions that affect your safety.
Thank you for listening.  This is your Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency.
You'll find a long list of Kilauea webcams at the HVO  along with the latest photos at
The USGS maintains a variety of communications portals, and urges `This is a developing story, so please keep checking the USGS home page, the USGS Facebook page, and the USGS Twitter feed as updates become available.'
While Hawaii and Alaska are the two states most often associated with volcanic eruptions, the Western United States has dozens of volcanoes which pose varying degrees of eruptive threats.

While major volcanic eruptions on the U.S. mainland are rare events, they have the potential to be extremely disruptive when they do occur. 

For that reason, emergency planners urge:

Before a volcanic eruption:
  • Plan ahead. Have emergency supplies, food and water stored. 
  • Plan an evacuation route away from rivers or streams that may carry lahars.
  • Keep a battery-operated radio available at all times.
  • If there is an eruption predicted, monitor the radio or TV for information. Follow the advice given by authorities.

Note: Lahars are debris or mud flows from a volcano, and can be particularly dangerous. 

While it may sound a bit like a broken record, the advice for citizens to be prepared – whether it be for a volcanic eruption, tsunami, earthquake, hurricane or some other disaster – continues to ring forth from scores of federal, state and local agencies.
They know that during any serious disaster that emergency services will be severely strained, and that during the opening hours and even days, many people will have to fend for themselves.
The simple truth is, you don't have to live on the side of a volcano, or along the San Andreas fault line, to be caught up in a major disaster.  

A week ago, a refinery fire forced the evacuation of much of Superior, WI,. and so far - in the first 4 months of 2018 - FEMA has declared 19 major disasters affecting 11 states and American Samoa.

So, if a disaster struck your community today, do you already have?
  • A battery operated NWS Emergency Radio to find out what was going on, and to get vital instructions from emergency officials
  • A decent first-aid kit, so that you can treat injuries
  • Enough non-perishable food and water on hand to feed and hydrate your family (including pets) for the duration
  • A way to provide light when the grid is down.
  • A way to cook safely without electricity
  • A way to purify or filter water
  • A way to stay cool (fans) or warm when the power is out.
  • A small supply of cash to use in case credit/debit machines are not working 
  • An emergency plan, including meeting places, emergency out-of-state contact numbers, a disaster buddy,  and in case you must evacuate, a bug-out bag and a predetermined place to go. 
  • Spare supply of essential prescription medicines that you or your family may need
  • A way to entertain yourself, or your kids, during a prolonged blackout
If your answer is `no’, you have some work to do.  A good place to get started is by visiting
You may also wish to revisit some of my preparedness blogs:
When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough

In An Emergency, Who Has Your Back?

#NatlPrep: The Gift Of Preparedness 2017

No comments: