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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park News Release   Release Date: Dec. 29, 2011

Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone Eruption:            
29 Years and Counting


Photo credit: USGS photo by Tim Orr


Hawaii National Park, HI – Jan. 3, 2012 marks the 29th anniversary of Kīlauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption. This eruption, particularly events that occurred during the past year, will be the topic of an “After Dark in the Park” program in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Tues., Jan. 3.

Tim Orr, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will review the eruption, focusing on highlights from Kīlauea’s 2011 activity. The program begins at 7 p.m. at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees apply.

The eruption began just after midnight on Jan. 3, 1983, with lava erupting to the surface along several fissures.  By June 1983, the eruption was focused at a single vent. Over the next three years, lava fountains up to 1,500 feet high roared from the vent 44 times, building a cinder-and-spatter cone named Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō.


In July 1986, the eruption shifted to Kupaianaha, a new vent farther down the east rift zone. Lava poured from this vent nearly continuously for almost six years, burning and burying Kīlauea’s south flank, including the communities of Kapa‘ahu and Kalapana, in 1986 and 1990, respectively.

Early in 1992, the eruption returned to vents on the flanks of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Over the next 18 years, lava flowed down the slopes of Kīlauea, inundating areas within and outside of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National park and often reaching the sea.


During the past year, Kīlauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption has included two spectacular fissure eruptions, a dramatic outbreak of lava from the west flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, and, on Dec. 9, 2011, a new ocean entry USGS scientists named West Ka‘ili‘ili—the first ocean entry within the boundaries of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park since 2009.


Since the eruption began in 1983, lava flows have buried 48 square miles of public and private land, destroying vast tracts of native forest, nine miles of highway, and 213 structures, including homes, a church, and the Waha‘ula Visitor Center in the park.


While Kīlauea’s current east rift zone eruption has been its most destructive event in recent history, the eruption has also been constructive. Molten lava flowing into the sea has added about 500 acres of new land to Hawai‘i Island.


This presentation is one of many talks, guided hikes, and other programs offered by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as part of Hawai‘i Island’s third annual Volcano Awareness Month in January. For more information about this talk, please call 808-985-6011.


For a complete schedule of Volcano Awareness Month events, please visit the
HVO Web site at www.hvo.wr.usgs.gov or call (808) 967-8844.

                                   -NPS-


Caption for attached photo: On Mar. 6, 2011, a spectacular fissure eruption
between Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and Nāpau Crater on Kīlauea’s east rift zone produced
lava flows that poured into a pre-existing ground crack and advanced
through an ‘ōhi‘a forest.  For scale, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
scientists (lower right) can be seen walking toward the flow.
 

 


PAST PRESS RELEASES:

 

NEWS RELEASE 10/1/09 : Volcano House Hotel  inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closing down as of 1/1/10 for at least 6 months due to seismic building upgrades.
For alternate lodging at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park please go to :
Volcano Bed and Breakfast Lodge / Volcano Vacation Rentals

 

Release Date: 09/12/2001
Contact Name: Mardie Lane, Park Ranger (808) 985-6018

A Second Chance at a First Impression

Press Release Photo

On September 17, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park will begin construction of a permanent entrance station facility. The new structure will replace the temporary kiosks erected in 1986 when entrance fees were first collected.

The new building will provide visitors with "a sense of entry." The structure will be reminiscent of those built in the park in the 1930's by the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps). The lower walls will have a stonework façade, while the rest of the structure will be framed of wood with alternating 12" and 6" lap siding and topped by a corrugated metal hip roof.

The new entrance station will accommodate two lanes of in-coming traffic, be accessible to people with disabilities, equipped with a restroom, and wired for the latest in digital communications and security.

The construction contract was awarded to Isemoto Contracting Company of Hilo. The project is expected to cost $388,000 and take six months to complete. Isemoto Contracting Company was also awarded a State contract to improve rainwater drainage and install two overhead street lamps at the Crater Rim Drive and Highway-11 intersection.

During construction, a single temporary kiosk will be located between the current entrance station and the Kilauea Visitor Center. Signage and orange traffic cones will help guide visitors through the construction zone. The public is asked to drive carefully, heed posted signs, and watch for pedestrians.

While construction activities may cause some delays in traffic flow during the busiest times, the project will ultimately improve visitor service and safety. It will also enhance the working conditions of the park entrance station staff who greet the thousands of people who visit Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park each day.

 

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