Leilani Estates eruption spreads to 4 fissures, more expected

  • A new lava fissure commenced around 1 a.m. Friday on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone on Makamae and Leilani Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Spatter was being thrown roughly 100 feet high at the time of this photo. Copious amounts of sulfur dioxide gas, which should be avoided, is emitted from active fissures. The eruption is dynamic and changes could occur with little warning. (HVO/Special to West Hawaii Today
  • Drone footage shows lava spilling from a fissure Thursday evening into the woods and onto roadways in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna. Screenshot of Facebook video by Jeremiah Osuna.
  • Steaming cracks at 5:57 a.m. Friday in Leilani Estates subdivision, moments before a fissure opened up on Kaupili Street. (HVO/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Volcanic eruptions continue in Leilani Estates, with at least four fissures having formed by Friday afternoon, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The fissures involve mostly vigorous spattering and lava has yet to travel more than tens of yards from the vents.

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According to Civil Defense, the fissures are located on Makamae and Mohala streets in the lower portion of the subdivision.

Janet Babb, HVO spokeswoman, said one was actively spattering as of 8:40 a.m., but activity can change quickly.

“This is a completely dynamic situation, and changes can occur or could occur with little warning,” she said.

Additional outbreaks are likely, and ground deformation and earthquakes continue in the area. The vents are preceded by ground cracking and strong gas emissions. Meanwhile, the lava lake continues to drop at Kilauea’s summit, HVO said.

Hawaii County Police warned that ground cracks were seen on Leilani Avenue and that people should avoid that area.

Hawaii Fire Department says there are “extremely high” levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.

The first fissure opened on Mohala Street on Thursday afternoon and extended 150 to 200 yards by the evening.

All residents of Leilani and Lanipuna Gardens are told to evacuate. Shelters are open at the Pahoa and Keaau community centers.

Pohoiki Road is closed from Highway 132 to Highway 137 to allow evacuation efforts to proceed.

Due to the eruption, Kua O Ka La Charter School, Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, Keonepoko Elementary School, and all Pahoa schools are closed.

Puna Geothermal Venture shut down Thursday following the eruption.

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A temporary flight restriction is in place. Drones can be confiscated.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. Rhea Lee-Moku said there are reports of outages in Kaumana and parts of Hilo following a magnitude-6.9 earthquake at 12:33 a.m. Friday. It came about an hour after another temblor that registered a 5.6-magnitude. Both were located on the south flank at Kilauea.