The lava field created by ongoing Big Island eruptions would cover most of urban Honolulu
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The eruptions on the Big Island are a little tough to wrap your head around.
Twenty-five days after the first fissure opened in lower Puna, the eruption has produced a massive, 2,400 acre lava field, has created lava fountains as high as 300 feet, and has destroyed nearly 100 structures.
We know — that's a lot to comprehend.
So to help you better understand the scope of this ongoing disaster, we looked for some ways to put the numbers associated with this eruption into perspective.
Eruptions in lower Puna start in Leilani Estates and continue downslope some three miles to the sea.
That's a lot of land. In fact, if you overlay the current eruption flow on top of a map of urban Honolulu, the size of the lava field stretches from Cooke Street in Kakaako to Montserrat Avenue in Kapahulu.
The 2,400 acres covered by lava is about the same size as eight Kapiolani parks (300 acres each).
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists say several eruptions along a two-mile line of fissures remain active, pumping out an incredible 40 to 60 cubic feet of lava per second.
That's about 180 standard-sized refrigerators being spit out of the ground — every minute.
Put another way, the equivalent of 632 bathtubs of lava have been shooting from the ground each minute.
The highest lava fountain seen so far during ongoing eruptions in lower Puna has been about 300 feet tall.
By comparison, Yellowstone's Old Faithful has an eruption height record of 185 feet.
There have been a number of explosions at the summit of Kilauea, sending out ash plumes that have soared as high as 30,000 feet.
Compare that to the top cruising altitude for most commercial jets, which is 33,000 to 42,000 feet.
Some 2,000 people have already evacuated from the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, ground zero for the eruptions, and authorities say hundreds more may need to flee if lava cuts off key roads out of the area.
To put that into perspective, the entire undergraduate enrollment number for Hawaii Pacific University is about 3,400 students.
There's no indication that the current eruption is going to stop anytime soon, but we can look at past eruptions to help put the potential timespan in prospective.
|Year||Date of Outbreak||Duration (days)||Location||Volume (cubic meters)|
|1750 (?)||-||-||East rift||14,200,000|
|1790 (?)||-||-||East rift||27,500,000|
|1790||November (?)||-||Caldera||No lava flow|
|1832||Jan. 14||Short||East rim of caldera||(?)|
|1868||April 2 (?)||Short||Southwest rift||183,000|
|1877||4-May||1 (?)||Caldera wall||(?)|
|1877||May 21 (?)||-||Keanakakoi||(?)|
|1884||Jan. 22||1||East rift||(?)|
|1919||Feb. 7||294||Caldera||25,200,000 (?)|
|1919||Dec. 21||221||Southwest rift||45,300,000|
|1922||28-May||2||Makaopuhi and Napau||(?)|
|1923||Aug 25 (?)||1||East rift||73,000|
|1954||31-May||3||Halemaumau and caldera||6,200,000|
|1955||Feb. 28||88||East rift||87,600,000|
|1959||Nov. 14||36||Kilauea Iki||37,200,000|
|1960||Jan. 13||36||East rift||113,200,000|
|1961||Sept. 22||3||East rift||2,200,000|
|1962||Dec. 7||2||East rift||310,000|
|1963||Aug. 21||2||East rift||800,000|
|1963||Oct. 5||1||East rift||6,600,000|
|1965||Mar. 5||10||East rift||16,800,000|
|1965||Dec. 24||<1||East rift||850,000|
|1968||Aug. 22||5||East rift||130,000|
|1968||Oct. 7||15||East rift||6,600,000|
|1969||Feb. 22||6||East rift||16,100,000|
|1971||Sept. 24||5||Caldera and southwest rift||7,700,000|
|1972||Feb. 4||455||East rift||119,600,000|
|1973||Nov. 10||30||East rift||2,700,000|
|1973||Dec. 12||203||East rift||28,700,000|
|1974||19-Jul||3||Caldera and east rift||6,600,000|
|1974||Dec. 31||<1||Southwest rift||14,300,000|
|1977||Sept. 13||18||East rift||32,900,000|
|1979||Nov. 16||1||East rift||580,000|
|1983||Jan. 3||on going||East rift (Puu Oo)||ongoing|
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