Lava threatens Big Island charter school

  • U.S. Geological Survey photo

    A view from Bryson’s quarry on the Big Island around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday looking uprift past Halekamahina, an older ash cone, to fissure No. 8, which is creating the glow behind the cone. Bright areas indicate incandescent lava, with the brightest areas showing the trace of the lava channel.

Much of the lava from Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone has changed course on the lower end of the flow, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

“There’s some going to the ocean but the majority of the flow from fissure 8 is going to the west of Kapoho crater,” Janet Snyder, Mayor Harry Kim’s spokeswoman said, citing the morning briefing from HVO geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua. “The flow front is a little further than (Highway) 137, going to Ahalanui (Beach Park, also known as “Warm Pond”) and Kua O Ka La charter school.”

Snyder said the lava was less than 2,000 feet from Kua O Ka La, which is on Kaimu-Kapoho Road. The school, which is on summer break, moved its classes to Hilo since being threatened by lava from the current eruption, which started May 3.

There have been what Snyder referred to as “ooze-outs” in the north end of the flow front in Kapoho and it’s possible, but not confirmed, that another structure was destroyed by lava.

Trade winds have returned and are expected to remain through the week.

Another heavy rainfall is expected this week in Leilani Estates, which experienced thundershowers enhanced by the lava’s heat the past two Mondays, with about 10 inches of rainfall.

Another collapse-explosion occurred at Kilauea’s summit at 5:46 a.m. today. The energy released by the event was equivalent to a magnitude-5.3 earthquake, according to HVO.

“Interestingly, it’s been 44 hours since the last one, so there’s been more of an interval,” Snyder said. “The shaking seemed less than normal, the gas emissions were underwhelming.”

Beginning this morning, U.S. Geological Survey personnel are conducting helicopter overflights of Volcano village, Volcano Golf and Country Club and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to map ground deformation. Flights began at about 7 a.m. and are expected to continue throughout the morning.

The Disaster Recovery Center remains open seven days a week at Keaau High School Gym, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. There are buses between both the Keaau and Pahoa evacuation centers and the DRC.

As of Wednesday, close of business, 2,114 individuals have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, with $2,814,800 in grants approved.


Email John Burnett at

  1. harry oyama July 11, 2018 2:42 pm Reply

    Why do not the Air Force just bomb the lava channel to divert it back towards the ocean? A couple 2,000 lb JDAM will do the trick and probably open up all those underground lava tubes as well. Would make a fine News reporting both local and nationally putting Hawaii back on the map again.

    Besides RIMPAC could also send over some planes to practice JDAM bombing instead of shore duty and too much boom boom for its sailors!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.