Watch: 1 month Lava has been rolling out of the collapsed Puna coastline, affecting thousands. pic.twitter.com/cr32xSfGYi — Keola Azar (@keolaazar) April 24, 2018
This volcano is awake: The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been rumbling for weeks, and the activity was calmed by “exceptionally intense rain” that forced the evacuation of more than 4,000 people. Satellite imagery taken by the Terra satellite shows the latest changes in nature after storm surges and heavy rains lashed the island Wednesday.
Kilauea’s Pu’u ‘O’o crater, once an open lake in the lava flows, has now begun forming fresh lava flow and shrinking to the nearby ocean.
Land affected by lava flows is a state park about 5 miles from Pahoa. The lava flows are merging with the ocean, creating a lake that will become even more productive, allowing new flow from the active vents to occur more quickly.
There are three active lava flows in Puna: Pu’u ‘O’o, along with two east wall lava flows. Several rivers of lava have now been pushing out into the ocean, almost swallowing other nearby communities along the way.
Storm surges, when huge amounts of water rush down a sea of land from a storm, are sometimes known as “underwater volcanoes.” The lava flow from Kilauea is streaming out of the sea under its own steam, and the increased pressure of water and the lava thaws out existing underground features, causing many cracks on the island to fissure open.
If the debris run off, ash falls from the ground and rains, these formations can combine and cause pressure within the volcano to become too much, resulting in a premature eruption.
Other nearby volcanoes like Mauna Loa, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Diamond Head also have small earthquakes but are not at risk of an imminent eruption.
After recent days of active activity, a second level of volcanic eruption was declared.
Read more: See the latest from the devastating volcanic eruption
The Kilauea volcano’s belching lava has been raging since May 4, spewing thick plumes of smoke, spattering ash and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.
The National Weather Service has advised that little to no precipitation is expected for the rest of the week. Seawater on the Big Island is currently relatively warm, so the usually “sharp pockets of volcanic glass on the land near lava flows has remained warm”.
Forecasters hope the sun will return next week.