In just one night, hundreds of other homes were destroyed by lava, which filled a rural area. The buildings were vacation houses, one of them belonging to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.
Janet Snyder, the spokeswoman for Hawaii County, stated that “hundreds of homes were lost” on the Big Island’s Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland neighborhoods.
Since the volcano began erupting on 3 May, it has destroyed 117 homes, and Tuesday’s last eruption would double the amount. It was the most destructive day since the volcano started erupting.
Snyder stated that the mayor “had a premonition this was going to happen,” adding that “Vacationland is almost totally destroyed.”
Fortunately, nobody was injured. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirmed after a morning overflight that the Kapoho Bay was completely filled with lava. Most of Vacationland was inundated, and the Kapoho Beach Lots – except for the northern part was covered with lava.
Before the volcano started to spew lava again, there were a few series of earthquakes, one of which reached a magnitude of 5.5. On Tuesday, a quake spewed ash into the air, reaching heights of a mile. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center assured the public that even some areas had “strong shaking,” no tsunami was triggered.
The Environment and Native Wildlife
A big part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was closed because of the earthquakes, or corrosive volcanic ash and explosions that came from the Kilauea’s summit crater called Halema‘uma‘u.
The Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando stated that they can see and avoid coming lava, but they cannot do the same for the earthquakes:
“Nor can we foresee a summit explosion. But both threats continue.”
The Malama Kī Forest Reserve is also impacted by eruptions, losing almost half of the 1,514 acres. The forest is home to native birds, including Hawai‘i ‘amakihi, ‘apapane and the Hawaiian honeycreepers. This could be an issue, according to forestry official Steve Bergfeld:
“Sub-populations of wildlife may no longer persist, rapidly decline or become further fragmented and contract in range,”
The Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve is home to the endangered Hawaiian crow – the ‘alala. Project manager Jackie Levita-Gaudioso said that they’re monitoring the situation and ready to intervene:
“Staff on-site in the release area are prepared to recapture birds and transport them if needed.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.