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Hawaii News

Kilauea emissions affect Malama Ki Forest reserve

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At 4:32 p.m. Saturday, after approximately 17 hours of elevated seismicity, a collapse explosion occurred at the summit of Kilauea. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. During the intense shaking, rockfalls cascaded down the northern margin of the caldera wall just below Uwekahuna Bluff, sending rock dust into the air.

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As of Sunday the spatter cone at fissure 8 was about 180 feet tall. Lava fountains rise only occasionally above that point, sending a shower of tephra (cooled lava fragments) over the rim.

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U.S. Geological Survey field crews observed cracks in the area of Highway 130 Sunday to collect data for their daily reports. No changes were found in temperature, crack width or gas emissions.

There were two collapse explosions at Kilauea’s summit this weekend that released high energy but very little ash, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The first explosion Saturday afternoon created a small ash plume that rose less than 2,000 feet above the ground and drifted southwest. The second explosion Sunday afternoon released an ash plume that barely rose above ground level, the HVO reported.

Each of the explosions released energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake. There was no tsunami threat from either.

Otherwise, the HVO reports that the eruption on Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone continues with no significant change. Fissure 8 continues to send lava toward the ocean, and its spatter cone is now 180 feet tall.

Tradewinds are carrying Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments within a few hundred yards of the vent and are expected to carry vog to the southern and western parts of the island.

Lava continues to enter the ocean primarily through an open channel but also along a 1-kilometer-wide area.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says lava has burned much of the 1,514-acre Malama Ki Forest Reserve, and volcanic emissions have defoliated hundreds of trees. DLNR says the reserve is habitat to subpopulations of native forest birds that have developed unique resistance to avian pox and avian malaria.

“We would hate to lose that genetic pool,” Steve Bergfeld, Hawaii island branch manager of DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, said in a written release, adding that as native habitat continues to decline, populations of wildlife could cease, rapidly decline or become further fragmented.

Meanwhile, DLNR says its Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers continue to write citations to sightseers caught in closed areas.

The latest are Hilo residents Alexander White and Ruth Moss. DOCARE says White, 32, and Moss, 41, and two children were walking along the shoreline Saturday at Coconut Grove, at the bottom of Highway 137 near MacKenzie State Recreation Area.

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>> Live webcams from Hawaii island
>> Lava river in Leilani Estates, June 23
>> HUSGS: Fissure 8 channel transports ‘lava boats,’ June 22ED
>> Lava on Moku Street in Leilani Estates, June 21
>> Vigorous lava flow from fissure 8 to ocean, June 19
>> Gas plume above Halemaumau Crater, June 18

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>> For National Guard, lava disaster presents real-world mission
>> Scientists monitoring renewed fissure activity
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>> Ashfall, vog lowers air quality for residents of Ocean View
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