hawaii lava
© REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Lava erupts on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, US, May 18, 2018.
Kilauea, a volcano along the southern shore of the island of Hawaii has been erupting almost continuously since 1983. On May 17th, its eruption however was one of the strongest ever recorded, throwing ash 30,000 feet in the air. This article shows a chronological summary of events - volcanic activity and earthquakes - that led up to the massive eruption, with events that occurred afterwards. This is followed by what we can expect for the future, and lastly, a short mention of disastrous flooding and a 'rare' phenomena that preceded the event.

Back in February, there already was some volcanic activity on the volcano's East Rift Zone. The ongoing flows on the Pulama pali didn't pose any threat at the time, however. In early March, a devastating rim collapse occurred, burning many trees. This was followed by 'unusual' formations of huge steam vortices, possibly caused by a combination of lava flow and the right wind and heat conditions.

In mid-April, lava from the volcano spilled over the banks of the summit lake overnight. The next day, the level of lava fell back below to the level of the rim. On April 30th, the crater floor of Puu Oo - a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the volcano - collapsed, leading to evacuations in the Puna District, on the southeast coastline of the island.

hawaii map

A map of the Big Island of Hawaii showing the various districts.
Three days later, an earthquake measuring 5.5 magnitude took place off the south flank of the volcano. This was followed by 250 earthquakes in just 24 hours in the area, including one with a magnitude of 4.2. Most were minor however, but many of them were felt by locals. The volcano started spewing ash afterwards. These events made many fear that an eruption of Kilauea could be just days or hours away.

Shortly after the quakes, lava flowing from fissures opened by Kilauea, reached the Leilani Estates, located in the District of Puna. Around 10,000 Puna residents were evacuated. During a Facebook live broadcast, resident Ikaika Marzo from Pahoa, a place in the same district, urged everyone in the area to help their fellow community members evacuate safely, stressing that "there are fountains of lava, tons of lava coming out. Sounds like a jet engine."

On May 4th, a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the south flank of the volcano, the most powerful quake of all those that occurred in the days preceding, as well as the largest in Hawaii since 1975.

The strong earthquake generated small tsunami waves around the Big Island, caused several landslides along the Hamakua Coast and power outages for about 14,000 residents in Kaumana, Hilo and Puna. Meanwhile, volcanic eruptions were ongoing in Leilani Subdivision, with active volcanic vents located on Makamae, Kaupili and Mohala Streets, including a newly opened vent in the area. Six fissures in total - each several hundred yard longs - were confirmed in Leilani Estates at this time, which are still sending lava soaring as high as 125 feet in the air, reaching not only streets, but also residents' backyards.

In a matter of days, fissures continued to appear, leading to a total of 22 on May 18th. As of today, 35 structures - including at least 26 homes - have been destroyed, and around 1,700 people were forced to leave their residences. Authorities have only allowed evacuees to return to their homes to quickly pick up their belongings.

lava street hawaii
© AP Photo/Marco Garcia
Lava burns across the road in the Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii, Saturday, May 5, 2018. Hundreds of anxious residents on the Big Island of Hawaii hunkered down Saturday for what could be weeks or months of upheaval as the dangers from an erupting Kilauea volcano continued to grow.

On May 17th, Kilauea finally erupted, sending a plume of ash 30,000 ft into the air. The eruption was Hawaii's biggest in 100 years. In the following days, the volcano continued to spew lava, with some of it reaching the ocean near Pahoa. According to scientists this will affect local marine life for decades to come, with 'night and day' changes on the shoreline as Frank Samsone, a professor of oceanography at UH Manoa, told KHON. He added: "What used to be a lush productive environment with hot pools and animals of all different kinds, it's going to be either a black sand beach or a cliff."
volcano hawaii
© AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Plumes of steam rise as lava enters the ocean near Pahoa, Hawaii Sunday, May 20, 2018. Kilauea volcano that is oozing, spewing and exploding on Hawaii’s Big Island has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with rivers of molten rock pouring into the ocean Sunday and flying lava causing the first major injury.
Around May 26th, blue flames were spotted burning in the lava produced methane gas from burning plants and trees. If ignited while trapped underground this methane could trigger destructive explosions. Geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua said: "It's the first time, maybe the second time I've seen the blue flames thing. It's very dramatic, very eerie." Meanwhile, fissures have continued to emerge, with the 24th fissure opening on May 27th. By this time, 19 out of the 24 fissures were active.

kilaeua methane blue flame hawaii
© CBS News
At Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, eerie blue flames indicate the presence of methane gas.
Near the end of May, the lava flow took a dangerous turn as it reached the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, covering a well and threatening another, while also threatening nearby communities. This is the first time in recorded history that lava has ever reached a geothermal power plant. Authorities have responded by monitoring the wells, and taking preventive measures such as a complete shutdown of the geothermal plant, the capping of all 11 wells, and the removal of about 60,000 gallons of flammable liquid. This approach seems to have been successful, so far.

Around the same time, volcanic smog reached and blanketed the Marshall Islands and Micronesia, as it continued to move west.

Just as the lava keeps flowing and the smog keeps moving, so earthquakes continue to strike the big island. June started with a big rattle, as a magnitude 5.5 earthquake occurred 5 km south-west of Kilauea, sending a plume of ash up to 8,000 ft. This was the largest earthquake to strike the island since the aforementioned magnitude 6.9 earthquake that hit Hawaii on May 4th.

And while early May saw a total of about 250 earthquakes, early June topped that number as 500 quakes hit the summit area of Kilauea in just 24 hours. This was in fact the highest rate of quakes ever measured at the summit area, according to Brian Shiro, a supervisory geophysicist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Exactly how many earthquakes occurred since Kilauea's recent activity began is unclear, but authorities say that from May to June, Hawaii was been hit by over 12,000 earthquakes. By July 12th, the number had soared to 18,000+ earthquakes.

Meanwhile, between June 8th-12th, reports came in that more than 600 homes have been destroyed by the rivers of lava, with the number increasing as lava flows continue destroying everything in their path. The lava largely destroyed the town of Kapoho in the Puna District. The town is currently uninhabited.

On June 28th, author David Rothery, published an interesting piece regarding Kilauea's 8th fissure. By mid-June this fissure had developed into a 200 ft high volcanic cone, prompting the suggestion that it could be considered as a new volcano. Rothery mentions, however, that since it is fed by magma from the same source of the volcano, volcanologists would likely discard such a suggestion. While Rothery agrees, he adds: "Although I would agree that the fissure 8 vent is not a volcano in its own right, it does surely deserve to be referred to by a suitably memorable designation." Needless to say, it is an interesting development.

© US Geological Survey
The ‘fissure 8’ cone on June 15 2018.
The lava flows continue on to this day, entering the second month. As reported by the USGS, it is currently only fissure 8 that continues to erupt lava, with lava still flowing into the ocean. While the other fissures are inactive, the USGS does warn that "additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible at any time." The prevalence of earthquakes continues unabated, with the current rate of earthquakes ranging from 20-35/hr.

map kilauea
Map as of 3:00 p.m. HST, July 12, 2018. Given the dynamic nature of Kīlauea's lower East Rift Zone eruption, with changing vent locations, fissures starting and stopping, and varying rates of lava effusion, map details shown here are accurate as of the date/time noted. Shaded purple areas indicate lava flows erupted in 1840, 1955, 1960, and 2014-2015.
A few days ago, on Friday July 13th, a small 2.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded, and after two hours was followed by a collapse explosion event occurring at the summit of Kilauea. After this event a small new island was formed. As the USGS reports:
A tiny new island of lava has formed on the northernmost part of the ocean entry. During this morning's overflight, HVO's field crew noticed the island was oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline. [The new ''island"] was estimated to be just a few meters offshore, and perhaps 6-9 meters (20-30 ft) in diameter. It's most likely part of the fissure 8 flow that's entering the ocean - and possibly a submarine tumulus that built up underwater and emerged above sea level.
hawaii new island
© USGS photo
A small island has formed off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island.
Currently, fissure 8 activity has stabilized, but dangers continue to lurk. Yesterday, lava oozing into the ocean caused an explosion and sent a lump of molten rock crashing through the roof of a sightseeing tourist boat, injuring 23 people. Three of the injured, including a woman in her 20s whose leg was broken, were taken to a local hospital by ambulance. It happened so fast, the owner and captain of the tourist boat, Shane Turpin, never saw the explosion. "As we were exiting the zone, all of a sudden everything around us exploded," Mr Turpin said: "It was everywhere."

What's The Cause And What To Expect

Cosmic rays have been found to be a possible trigger for explosive volcanic eruptions as well as earthquakes. With cosmic rays on the increase, and getting worse, chances are high these are a contributing factor to the explosive eruptions of Kilauea, and the many earthquakes that occurred.

Authors of the highly recommended book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk, also mention a slowing down and 'opening up' process of the Earth as being possible contributing factors to what we are seeing today in terms of increased volcanic and seismic activity. One of the other possible contributing factors mentioned is solar radiation or the lack thereof:
"Some scientists have become aware of a correlation between sunspots and earthquakes and want to use sunspot data to help predict earthquakes. The theory is that an intensification of the magnetic field can cause changes in the geosphere [i.e. crust]. NASA and the European Geosciences Union have already put their stamp of approval on the sunspot hypothesis, which suggests that certain changes in Sun-Earth environment affect the magnetic field of the Earth, which can then trigger earthquakes in areas prone to them. It is not clear how such a trigger might work." (p.130)
In a study published online on September 30th, 2015, entitled 'On the possible relations between solar activities and global seismicity in the solar cycle 20 to 23 [year 1960 to 2013]'. Herdiwijaya et al. state: "We found clear evidences that in general high magnitude earthquake events and their depth were related to the low solar activity.

When it comes to volcanic activity, one paper entitled 'Possible correlation between solar and volcanic activity in a long-term scale' published in 2003 by Střeštik states: "Solar activity governs the volcanic activity on the Earth in long-term scale. Volcanic activity is usually higher in periods of prolonged minima of solar activity and vice versa."

And right now, we're entering the third month of a solar minimum... which may contribute to a continuing increase in both seismic and volcanic activity, possibly in Hawaii, but also elsewhere.

Besides lava flows continuing in Hawaii making its surroundings unsafe, there are also other effects of volcanic eruptions to consider. There have been many accounts of climate cooling following volcanic eruptions, and this may be the case for the Big Island as well. In one study, the authors focused on the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora in April 1815 that triggered the "year without summer" in 1816:
Mount Tambora's eruption, the largest in the past several centuries, spewed a huge amount of sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, where it turned into sulfate particles called aerosols. The layer of light-reflecting aerosols cooled Earth, setting in motion a chain of reactions that led to an extremely cold summer in 1816, especially across Europe and the northeast of North America. The "year without a summer" is blamed for widespread crop failure and disease, causing more than 100,000 deaths globally.
While severe global cooling may not hit Hawaii in the short term, the eruptions may contribute to colder temperatures in the area, as well as globally, in the near future, particularly given that the number and intensity of volcanic eruptions around the world is on the rise - the recent eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano, that cost the lives of at least 109 people, being but one example.

Preceding Kilauea's Eruption And Earthquakes

Kilauea's eruption and earthquakes weren't the only events that were significant in the state of Hawaii this year. Before all of the above took place, destructive floods and 'rare' or strange phenomena have occurred there that are worth mentioning. While these events may not be related to volcanic activity and earthquakes, all these events are part of the Earth Changes that have been happening all over the globe. Records are being broken left and right, and 'rare' phenomena are becoming the new normal, including the following.

Earlier this year on February 13th, Frankie Lucena of Puerto Rico spotted a rare Hawaiian light pillar while scanning the automated Gemini webcam on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano. One frame from the complete video can be seen below. As light pillars usually occur in colder climates, atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley notes that these are very rare, saying "I do not recall seeing examples of these pillars so far south or in a location like Hawaii." With the quieting Sun and more cosmic rays moving further into our atmosphere however, we can expect such phenomena to occur more frequently.
light pillar hawaii
On April 15th, a site in northern Kauai, Waipa, recorded 49.69 inches of rainfall in only 24 hours. While this measurement hasn't been officially confirmed yet, it would mean that it broke the US 24-hour rainfall record (43 inches at Alvin, Texas, on July 25-26, 1979) as well as the 24-hour rainfall record for Hawaii (38 inches at Kilauea on Jan. 24-25, 1956).

The heavy rain triggered mudslides and flooding that destroyed homes - with at least two torn from their foundations - and shut down roadways. Vehicles were left stranded in over a foot of water on the Kalanianaole Highway because of the flooding. Hundreds of people were evacuated. The Daily Mail reported that some residents said it was worse than Hurricane Iniki in 1992. County spokeswoman Sarah Blane called it "the worst storm in recent memory".

Record flooding in Hawaii
© The Weather Channel
Record flooding in Hawaii in April 2018.
The biggest eruption in decades, lava flows reaching neighborhoods, blue flames popping up indicating the presence of methane gas, the incredible number of earthquakes, the emergence of a fissure that could be regarded as a new volcano, the emergence of a small island off the coast due to the lava flows, a lump of molten rock crashing through the roof of a tourist boat... that is an impressive tally of amazing events for such a small area of the world. And when we factor in 'rare' events such as light pillars and disastrous floods caused by 'the worst storm in recent memory', we get an idea that 'Earth Changes' are certainly happening - and that we ought to be paying attention.

It should, however, be noted that it is highly unlikely that such events are the result of CO2 produced by humans, as Global Warmists insist. Instead, they are likely the result of many factors such as changes in solar activity, the slowdown in Earth's rotation, cosmic rays, and other factors as explained in detail in the book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.