Just last month, Hawaii’s massive Kilauea volcano erupted, leaving at least 600 homes destroyed and reaching temperatures as extreme as 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit. Following the volcanic eruption, there have been at least 12,000 earthquakes in the last 30 days, leading many people to wonder: When will the destruction finally be over?
In the days since the volcano first erupted, more than 113.5 million cubic meters of lava has spread across the island, and much of that has even made its way into the ocean. Experts are even saying that there is enough lava to cover the entire island of Manhatten in 6.5 feet deep of lava.
Unfortunately, when hot lava enters the Pacific ocean, a by-product is created that is known as laze. Laze is a chemical mixture of hydrochloric acid, glass, and stream that is then released into the air once the lava and water combine. Such hazardous chemicals are dangerous for the environment, and not to mention the health of the island’s inhabitants.
And while the toxic effects of laze combined with massive Earthquakes and temperatures that could melt steel beams may seem like enough destruction, it doesn’t seem to end there. The U.S Geological Survey has now reported that lava from the volcano has spilled across highways and into Hawaii’s Green Lake, which is a major source of freshwater for the island. In turn, the freshwater has evaporated.
“The lava is quite hot, so it boiled away the water,” Sally Sennert, a USGS volcanologist told NPR.
“The lava flows, like a stream of water, are going to take the path of least resistance as they flow downhill,” Sennert says, adding that she doubts the lake will return. “All I’ve heard is reports that lava has filled it up,” she says.
The lava made its way into the lake at around 10 a.m, and by 3 p.m, the entire lake had evaporated.
While thousands of people have been evacuated from the area, officials fear that at least a dozen residents could be dead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though the eruptions will be ending anytime soon, either. Geologists including Cindi Preller from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told NBC news that we could be expecting further eruptions in the upcoming months as the deflation process continues.
As it stands, fissures have opened up throughout the island, meaning that we could expect various other areas to be touched by the extreme destruction that has followed the initial eruption. Thankfully, Governor David Ige has now signed a memorandum that could furnish around $12 million dollars for the state disaster relief to the island. Ige has also announced the formation of a task force of federal, state and local officials that would prepare a recovery plan for the various communities that have been devastated by the eruptions.
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