After Three Months, Eruptions Pause at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

Sean Breslin
Published: August 8, 2018

After three months of lava flows that claimed hundreds of homes on the southern end of Hawaii's Big Island, eruptions at the Kilauea Volcano have paused temporarily, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist says.

The pause was confirmed to Earther by USGS volcanologist Wendy Stovall following a Sunday flyover at Fissure 8,  last fissure that was still oozing lava. For days, the USGS observed a big decline in the amount of lava emerging from the fissure, as mentioned in a Tuesday report.

"It could be weeks or months before we feel comfortable calling the eruption and the summit collapse over," Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory scientist Tina Neal said in a press release.

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Despite the shutoff, hazard warnings are still in effect for parts of the Puna district, where the lava flows have been catastrophic in some neighborhoods, the USGS also said. And although Fissure 8 has been most active in recent weeks, Stovall told Earther that her team of volcanologists continue to monitor all 24 fissures for activity, as any could reactivate.

Stovall also said the seismic activity at the volcano's main caldera has decreased, another possible sign that Kilauea has calmed.

Since the first fissure opened May 3, the thick lava has covered more than 12 square miles of land and destroyed at least 700 homes on its unstoppable march to the coastline. No deaths have been reported, but at least 24 people were injured, 23 of which were on a tour boat hit by lava rocks sent airborne during an explosion on July 16.


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