The ongoing natural disaster in Hawaii continues as the Kilauea volcano sends an unrelenting flow of lava down its slopes; Kapoho and Vacationland are the latest residential neighborhoods to be nearly completely wiped out by the latest eruptive event. A fissure that was pumping lava more than 200 feet into the air inside the Leilani Estates subdivision in the Puna district of Hawaii’s Big Island created an incredible river of lava that reached the island’s northeast shore late Sunday night. In its path this time were the communities of Kapoho and Vacationland, known for their stunning coastal beauty. Kapoho Bay was known for shallow tidal pools, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. With colorful fish and vibrant coral accenting the picture-perfect crystal clear blue waters, the area was considered one of eastern Hawaii’s most eye catching destinations. Sadly, the area is no more. After reaching the coast shortly after 10pm Sunday evening, lava flooded the bay during the day yesterday, destroying most of Kapoho and Vacationland, filling in Kapoho Bay and its famous tidepools in the process. According to the USGS, the flow now extends more than 0.7 miles into where the bay was, establishing a lava delta where the ocean once entered the bay.
Hawaii County Civil Defense reported that there were approximately a dozen people in this area that refused to leave the area ahead of the lava flow. An update on their status was not available as of this writing.
These residential and vacation areas are the latest to fall victim to the volcanic activity that started just over a month ago. On May 3, lava started erupting from a fissure in the Leilani Estates subdivision, after steaming cracks opened up on the Eastern Rift Zone of Kilauea. Activity continues at Kilauea’s summit too, where Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has now been closed for more than three weeks, reported extensive damage yesterday. According to the USGS, Hawaii has had more than 9,900 earthquakes since May 3. Over a 24 hour period between June 2-3, more than 500 quakes were recorded at Kilauea which was the most ever recorded there within a day.
The USGS told reporters on Monday that this volcanic event “isn’t winding down” and that an end isn’t in sight. Scientists are unsure how long this eruptive event will last nor do they know with certainty what kind of seismic or explosive activity will persist at the volcano’s summit. In the meantime, the National Weather Service continues to issue products tied to volcanic ash and debris that continues to rain down on portions of Hawaii.