Its been a while, and what a while its been!
Its been a while, and what a while its been! Where to start, where to start. Lava Bombs, 22 volcanic fissures, 8 mile lava flow, earthquakes, glowing red skies all night, toxic air and just today a close pass by from Hurricane Hector. I have now givin you an update since my last post LMAO!.
It all started with darn near constant earthquakes. By constant, I mean 24 hours a day for about 5 days Nothing major at first. Slight rumbles that raise the blood pressure and make ya look around. Some so slight you would only notice by water in a glass that would vibrate. It was all kinda a joke to start. “I think we had an earthquake” over the 5 days the earthquakes became stronger, more alarming.
To better understand why earthquakes are more nerve wracking than in other places, I feel the need to explain earthquakes here on The Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii does not sit on active tectonic plates. Normally, earthquakes happen because tectonic plates rub or grind against each other. In doing so send out a shockwave of vibrations that travels through the earth.
Here in Hawaii, earthquakes are caused by magma from one of the active volcanoes on the island moves. this moving magma causes vibrations much the same way as tectonic plates rubbing or grinding against each other. So, if you feel an earthquake you know its gonna come out somewhere at some point. When the earthquakes are constant, that’s a pretty good sign lava is gonna come out of the ground somewhere.
Sure enough! Here in the Pahoa area cracks in the ground started to develop. A sure sign of the ground expanding due to pressure from under ground. At first no big deal. then steam starts to come out of the cracks.
Here in lower Puna, we have what is called the East Rift zone. basically, its an area that the volcano is splitting apart. Because the rock in these zones are weak, its an easy place for magma to come to the surface. To learn more detail about this, or for a better understanding. Please visit The University of Hilo’s website “Natural Hazards Big Island”
I’m sure at this point in this post you’ve figured out that the magma did come out of the ground. It did. First we had one fissure open and let out massive amounts of gas, then others opened doing the same. Civil Defense started evacuating people from their homes. Some of these people were told to leave with little if any notice. Some were trying to come home after a long days work and were told they could not. It was really hysteria.
As more fissures opened, let out a little lava, died and new ones opened most of us living in this area became very concerned about a Thermal electric plant. It turned out that even though lava was creeping toward the plant there was shortages of equipment to prepare the plant for such a occasion. There was huge amounts of highly explosive gas stored on the plant property. They did manage with the states help manage to get all the gas out. But there is also the issue of the holes drilled down into the lava known as wells. No lava has never anywhere in the world flowed over these wells. Plus, the wells here on Hawaii are different than all the other plants. the way I understand it, normally the plants use the heat generated by the earth. Here in Hawaii, the heat comes from magma stored in the rift zone. This lava was stored under ground from a 1955 eruption in this same area. They did seal the wells and all seems to be ok…. so far.
Here comes the lava! Just a little at first. Then, A missive amount comes boiling out of fissure 8. It was coming out in such a large volume, it created a 8 mile long raised lava flow to the ocean. Now this was not the slow moving kind. No, this lava was flowing like the fastest flowing river of water you can ever imagine. A side effect of all that lava flowing to the ocean was a red sky. Every night, all night the sky glowed an orangish red. It was so bright 2 miles from the lava flow, that the inside of the house was glowing red to even with curtains and blinds. It was like living next to a brothel for 3 months. In that 3 months, over 700 homes to lost to the lava. Kopoho tidal pools: GONE. Ahalanui Park(hot ponds): GONE! Pohoiki Boat Ramp(Isaac Hale Beach Park): still there but lava is 200ft away. Red Road: DAMAGED! It been a rough 3 months here in lower Puna.
Then we have this hurricane Hector growing and building strength as it approaches the Hawaiian islands. 130mph winds and lots of rain. The really ironic thing is that fissure 8 4 days ago stopped spewing so much lava and its just a trickle coming out now. Which was a good thing as many were sweating lava and a hurricane.
Hector turned out to be all hype no action. Woke today expecting to get hit by at least a tropical storm winds and rain but it was not to be. Hector decided to stay some 200 miles south of the big island of Hawaii. we did get some rain today just no major wind. I am happy about that though.