Mt Kilauea - New fissures discovered

By Lynette Amoroa

More volcanic fissures have emerged in Leilani Estate, the subdivision close to Mt Kilauea which erupted last week producing lava flows underground in nearby communities causing damage to 26 homes and displacing 1700 people.  

New footage captured by USGS HVO shows scientists tracking what appeared to be two volcanic fissures in Leilani Forest. The news isn’t what locals were hoping to hear, but it’s clearly a sign that volcanic activity wasn’t settling down.  

So far, Kilauea has destroyed 35 structures including 26 homes forcing 1,700 people to leave their residences since it erupted on Thursday, spewing lava and toxic gas from volcanic vents in a small area of Hawaii's Big Island.

Hawai’i News Now reporter, Melika Lincoln told Te Kāea the lava flow is flowing in a new channel to its usual pattern, "We don't think anyone in Leilani Estate imagined the lava flow would travel so far from the source at Halemaumau crater, underground and then pop up in their residential neighbourhood.”

Despite the discovery of the new cracks in the Leilani Estate area, Civil Defence Officials allowed residents to return home yesterday to collect their belongings.

One resident made sure to secure sentimental heirlooms, "We were actually praying for this last night, that we would get one opportunity and we will be ready to take it."

But some residents ignored official warnings. In the surrounding area of Leilani Estate, one resident filmed himself on social media within meters of a growing fissure spewing out lava rocks. “I'm in my neighbourhood about 2 miles away from here, and I'm not leaving!”

Kilauea is one of the World’s most active volcanoes. Residents of Leilani Estate are familiar with its behaviour but Lincoln says this time there was no warning.

“People tend to see it coming that makes it more real for them. They prepare themselves physically in terms of packing homes, they prepare themselves mentally. This eruption literally popped up on Mohala Street in the middle of their community last Thursday,” says Lincoln.

Two shelters have been set up five miles from the evacuation zones.

But the real concern is the uncertainty of when Mt Kilauea will calm.