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New eruption at Kilauea’s summit spewing out 26,000 gallons of lava ... every second

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 9:45 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:22 PM HST
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KILAUEA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The new eruption at the summit of Kilauea is spewing out more than 26,000 gallons of lava a second, scientists said, and has filled the floor of Halemaumau Crater.

The lava lake was growing at a rapid rate — about 1 meter per hour — on Thursday, but levels appeared lower on Friday morning. Frank Trusdell, geologist with Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory, said it looked that way because “basically we’re in a funnel and so for every increment of lava you’re adding, you have to cover a larger surface area in order to get substantial rise.”

The eruption first started Wednesday afternoon, sending up fiery fountains as high as 100 feet. Thousands have flocked to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see the spectacular show.

Scientists said the lava lake’s surface has risen about 79 feet since the eruption started.

The lava lake now spans roughly 127 acres, more than 12 times larger than the lava lake during the 2018 eruption. But unlike the 2018 eruption, scientists have reassured the public that there’s no threat to the community and no signs of activity in the east rift zone, lower Puna or other areas.

“We monitor the volcano, we have instruments all over, and the only signs of activity are right here in the summit,” Trusdell told Hawaii News Now. “All the volcanic-related seismicity and ground deformation is right here at Halemaumau.”

Ikaika Marzo, who emerged as a strong community leader during the 2018 eruption, said there’s a sense of relief among the residents that the lava is staying within the crater.

“It’s always an excitement to see lava again, but it’s always a good thing it’s back in Halemaumau Crater,” Marzo said. “We’ve seen lava in 2018 and 2018 was just out in the world ― in people’s neighborhoods ― and now we have lava in Halemaumau Crater and that’s where it should be.”

He also said visitors coming to check out the new eruption offers a much-needed boon to the Hawaii Island economy, still reeling amid the pandemic.

Janet Comey, general manager of Kilauea Lodge, agreed.

“With the eruption happening last night, it has been nonstop,” she said.

“Our phone has been ringing off the hook today, really. We’re full, our rooms are full tonight, and we’re filling up for this weekend as well. More people, it’s a win-win for everybody, it really is.”

With a surge in visitors, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane said people should plan accordingly. “Definitely thousands of people coming in and especially right before sunrise and right after sunset, those are our busiest hours, so if you’re planning a trip to the park, you might want to time it for after 9 o’clock at night and maybe like 3 in the morning,” she said.

She added that people should dress warmly as the weather is significantly cooler there.

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