Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency announced a 16th fissure had opened from the erupting Kilauea volcano early in the day Saturday, followed by an announcement at 7 PM local time of a 17th fissure. Both fissures were located in the lower East Rift Zone, east of the Puna Geothermal energy plant and northeast of homes in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.
The agency warned previously that boulders the size of refrigerators could be launched from the crater should another eruption take place.
The Kilauea volcano first erupted April 3, sending toxic gases into the Big Island's atmosphere and eventually leading to more than a dozen cracks opening in the neighborhoods of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens. Lava is ozzing out of these large cracks, and sliding slowly along the surface, wrecking everything it touches:
Nearly 2,000 people were evacuated from the neighborhoods last week.
At least 35 structures, including two dozen homes, have been destroyed as molten lava, spewing out of enormous cracks in the ground, enveloped homes and cars, setting them ablaze and encasing what was left in molten rock.
The issue now is that the level of lava inside the main crater of Kilauea, is falling. At times, the level falls so low, the lave can no longer be seen from the rim of the crater which forms the mouth of the volcano. One might think that falling lava levels is a good sign; it is not. (Article continues below Ad)
As lava levels fall inside the volcano, sea water from the long tunnels which lead to the ocean, will allow the ocean water to pour backwards into them. When that sea water reaches the main volcanic chamber and comes into contact with the lave there, the water will instantly boil into steam.
What makes this worse is that, as the lava level has fallen, giant rocks, dirt and other debris from the volcano walls has broken off and fallen into the volcano, blocking the main crater. So the steam created from the ocean water flowing-in from lava tubes, could become trapped and build-up pressure. Staggering levels of pressure. At some point, the steam pressure build-up could cause the volcano to literally explode, hurling all the rocks, dirt and other material miles into the air.
THAT is what Geologists fear may take place within the next 48 hours.
Here's a graphic explaining how the process happens:
Making matters far worse, a 10 mile by 15 mile section of land on the seaward side of Kilauea, is beginning to DETACH from the volcano. This area of land is called the Hilina Slump. If it detaches and falls into the Pacific ocean, it will cause a Pacific-wide Tsunami. Here's a scientific map with the Hilina Slump circled:
Initially, the Tsunami would wrap-around the Hawaiian islands with a wall of water up to 1000' feet tall, wiping-out the coastal cities and towns on most of the Hawaiian Islands. But a portion of the Tsunami will also be hurled out into the open Pacific and head toward to west coast of North America: The U.S. and Mexico.
By the time such a Tsunami reaches the west coast (four or five hours later) it's size would be diminished to about 30 meters (99 feet) but would slam into coastal cities like San Diego and Los Angeles.
Try to imagine a 99 foot tall wall of water slamming into Los Angeles . . . and its ten million residents. Much of the city would no longer exist.
Of course, folks say "evacuate." Stop and think for a moment: How do you evacuate TEN MILLION PEOPLE in four to five hours? It's almost impossible.
This brief video shows how scientists believe it will take place. The numbers you see in the wave heights are METERS, not feet. Each Meter is about 39 inches, (about one yard, i.e. 3 feet)
If Kilauea does suffer an explosive eruption, folks on the US west coast should IMMEDIATELY evacuate to 50 miles or more inland and to higher elevations. Because once word comes out that a Tsunami is heading for the US west coast, ten million people are very likely to panic as they run for their lives. Those who leave first will avoid the sheer panic from those who get word later.
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