Hawaii's big island is still dealing with the effects of the volcano Kilauea. It erupted last week and has forced more than 1,500 people to flee from their mountainside homes. What happened was there were two earthquakes that rocked the island last Friday. The first one was reported to have that of a 6.9 magnitude and the second (which happened a hour or so later) was said to have a 5.4 magnitude quake hit. These quakes ultimately added to the fact that the "big island" was already dealing with 2 fissues or large cracks from Kilauea that caused the eruptions. The good news was that the quakes were not strong enough to cause a tsunami and some agencies in Hawaii confirmed that to residents...
A 5.6 magnitude earthquake occurred at 11:33 AM today off the south flank of Kilauea Volcano. No tsunami threat to Hawaii Island.— COH Civil Defense (@CivilDefenseHI) May 4, 2018
What is causing problems for the citizens there of Hawaii is the disruption this eruption has caused in their daily life. Thus far 35 structures have been destroyed, 26 of those are homes. Other than the danger of deadly burning lava, it's the toxic gas that has a lot of first responders worried. These eruptions release high levels of sulfur dioxide into the air and it can be life threatening if breathed in. Some side effects to identify if you came in contact with this toxic gas is, burning in the nose and throat and difficulty breathing. It's senior citizens and children that are most vulnerable to have respiratory issues from the gas. The Hawaii Department of Health issued a statement saying:"The best way to protect yourself and your family from the extremely dangerous volcanic gases is to leave the immediate area of the volcano defined by the police and fire department."
This disruption of life as they know it on the big island is upsetting to many residents as they do not know how long this volcano will continue to spew out lava. A total of 12 fissures have formed and while the activity has temporarily subsided, it's not necessarily over. Scientists/geologists expect that the eruptions will continue, which leaves the residents living arrangements up in the air. The island has set up multiple shelters to aid the dishomed residents.
The neighborhood of Leilani Estates has been most affected thus far. The neighborhood is located 25 miles east of the summit of Kilauea. It's the fissures that spring out, all 12 of them, which have popped up in this neighborhood. Some fountains of lava have reached as high as 200 feet. It was only this morning that the two new fissures opened up, resulting in the 12 total fissures that affect the big island, destroying everything in it's path.
Hawaii's Governor David Ige told the media: "There's a sense that it's Mother Nature," he said. "The lava flow is unpredictable. It's hard to determine which direction it will go. It starts and stops on a whim. That's the uncertainty that residents are faced with."
Local fire and police continue to warn residents of the dangers of the volcano's eruption. They remind and warn that it's not just the toxic gas that's dangerous but also the cracking and fissures created by the volcano. Fire Chief Renwick Victorino made a statement to the community saying, "We don't know when and where it's going to happen. Until it's stabilized, I highly suggest staying out of the area."
To stay updated on Kilauea you can visit the Hawaiin Volcano Observatory's website, HERE