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Lava Filled Fissures Force Evacuations on Hawaii’s Big Island

6 May 2018, 11:35 am

Volcanic activity on the Big Island has continued to ramp up, prompting residents to stay on high alert. Fissures in Earth’s surface has allowed lava to flow freely onto roads and into neighborhoods requiring multiple evacuations.

As of Saturday night, a total of eight fissures have opened up destroying five homes in their path. Due to the heightened volcanic activity, the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) has placed the region under a volcano warning. This means a hazardous eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.

Fissures aren’t the only sign of geologic liveliness; hundreds of earthquakes have also rattled Hawaii’s Big Island. The strongest was a 6.9 that struck off the coast of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The not-so-nice tremor ranks as the strongest Hawaiian earthquake in over forty years.

Though the spewing fissures have taken some residents by surprise, free flowing lava is no stranger to the area. The volcano responsible for the most recent activity, Kilauea, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The magma filled mountain has been active for 35 years burping up its red-hot contents every so often.

In 2000, Kilauea spewed over 500 billion gallons of lava covering over 25,000 acres of land. This geologic episode destroyed over 180 structures including the National Park visitor center.

The most recent activity continues to increase and shows no signs of stopping. Stayed tuned to the USGS for updates.

Written by: Dakota Smith.