Another explosion, collapse reported at Halemaumau Crater

Published: Jul. 20, 2018 at 6:23 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 21, 2018 at 10:12 AM HST
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PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Saturday, seismic activity continued with another explosion and collapse at Halemaumau Crater.

It happened just before 9:45 a.m. Civil Defense officials said, and it reportedly released energy equivalent to a 5.4 magnitude quake. There was no tsunami threat.

The latest action out of Kilauea comes after a new report recently released that says this will be the new normal for a while.

If you're waiting for the ongoing eruptions in lower Puna to come to an end, you might be waiting for a very long time.

The new U.S. Geological Survey report says that given the volume of lava erupting in the lower east rift zone and other factors, "it is most likely" that the eruption "may continue for months to years."

The report goes on to say that if the eruption continues at its current rate, it could take "months to a year or two to wind down."

That's, of course, very bad news for thousands of Big Island residents displaced by the ongoing eruptions.

Outside of the near-daily collapses at the crater, lava has claimed more than 700 homes in lower Puna, where whole towns have been decimated. And off Kapoho, lava continues to flow into the sea, creating more than 725 new acres of land and counting.

The report, posted online Friday, aims to detail potential scenarios for the ongoing eruptions.

While business as usual is the most likely future, geologists say there are also potential scenarios.

One possibility: An abrupt stop to the eruptions.

Another possibility: "A transition to steady, longer-lived activity at a lower effusion rate."

The agency says it's also possible that additional fissures may form around fissure no. 8, which is the only active outbreak at this point.

But the chances for that are slim.

Fissure no. 8, which has been erupting continuously since May 27, is spewing out an estimated 26,000 gallons of lava per second, according to the report. And that eruption rate shows no sign of slowing.

Geologists also said that the current eruption has spewed out more lava than what was seen in eruptions in 1955 and 1960.

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