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article imageIncreased lava flow from Kīlauea prompts evacuation concerns

By Karen Graham     Oct 27, 2014 in Science
Pahoa - The oozing lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has picked up speed over the past weekend, forcing most of the inhabitants of the village of Pahoa on the Big Island to flee for their lives.
Kilauea, the youngest and most active of Hawaii's shield volcanoes, has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. Luckily, most of the lava flowed in a southerly direction. Two years ago, the lave flow shifted to the northeast. The current flow has been threatening Pahoa since June. It is only recently that the lave stream has taken on a more sinister track, moving faster as it nears the village.
Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency said Sunday the lava flow is now moving at the rate of 15 to 20 yards an hour. The residents of Pahoa have not been given evacuation orders, but emergency responders were going door-to-door telling people about the flow conditions and the possibility of evacuating. In the meantime, according to HawaiiNewsNow, the Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at the Sure Foundation Puna in nearby Keaau.
Pahoa Village Road was shut down from Apa'a Street to Post Office Road Sunday, limiting travel to residents. The projected flow from the volcano is still along Pahoa Village Road, between the two streets. At least 50 to 60 structures, both homes and businesses will be affected by the lava. Thankfully, 95 percent of the residents have someplace to go, with only a handful needing shelter.
The  central crater of Kilauea  Halemaumau  is according to Hawaiian legends the home of the fire go...
The central crater of Kilauea, Halemaumau, is according to Hawaiian legends the home of the fire goddess Pele. This picture is of the crater in 2009.
Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS
The continuous eruption from the volcano that began in 1983 has resulted in lava flows covering more than 100 sq km, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the Big Island. Kilauea became one of the world's "hot spots" after people began taking notice of the volcano's frequent eruptions in 1820.
In March 2013  the glow from the lava lake at the bottom of Halemaumau Crater was clearly visible af...
In March 2013, the glow from the lava lake at the bottom of Halemaumau Crater was clearly visible after dark.
Tim Bray
The lave flow from the front.
The lave flow from the front.
According to the USGS, the photo above shows a typical portion of the pāhoa flow margin near the flow front, just downslope of Cemetery Rd. and Apaʻa St. The horizontal incandescent cracks seen in the center and right portions of the photo indicate that the flow was inflating. The inflation is driven by a continued supply of lava beneath the surface crust, which slowly raises the surface.
More about Kilauea Volcano, evacuation concerns, village of Pahoa, lava flow increasing, big island of Hawaii
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