View from space: Lava consumes Hawaii’s Vacationland, Kapoho Bay | 6/16/2018 | EarthSky Voices
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May 14, 2018. Image via NASA.

June 7, 2018. Image via NASA.

Fissures - Kilauea - Volcano - Lava - Hawaii

Steaming fissures in the Kilauea volcano first began to crack open and spread lava across Hawaii’s Leilani Estates neighborhood on May 3, 2018. Since then, more than 20 fissures have opened on the Kilauea’s Lower East Rift Zone, though most of the lava flows have been small and short-lived.

Not so for fissure number 8. That crack in the Earth has been regularly generating large fountains of lava that soar tens to hundreds of feet into the air. It has produced a large, channelized lava flow that has acted like a river, eating through the landscape as it flows toward the sea.

Fissure - Lava - Flow - Channels - Coastline

While the fissure 8 lava flow initially remained in relatively narrow channels, it began to widen significantly as it neared the coastline and passed over flatter land. It evaporated Hawaii’s largest lake in a matter of hours, and devastated the communities of Vacationland and Kapoho, destroying hundreds of homes.

On June 3, 2018, lava from fissure 8 reached the ocean at Kapoho Bay on Hawaii’s southeast coast. When the Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) on the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite captured a natural-color image on June 7, (top image) the lava had completely filled in the bay and formed a new lava delta. For comparison, the Landsat 8 image shows the coastline on May 14 (lower image).

Map - Fissure - System - Lava - Flows

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, 2018. The flow from fissure 8 remains active, with the flow entering the ocean at Kapoho. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature...
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