The eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii continues, and locals are preparing for the absolute worst as the geological mayhem shows no signs of stopping.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park officially closed down on Friday, as experts believed there was a high chance of an explosion at Kilauea’s summit crater. According to a report by the Associated Press, the National Park Service announced the closure on Wednedsay, suggesting that a “steam-induced explosion” was very possible as the volcano’s lava lake continued to drain.
Ash and boulders have continued to fall around the park throughout the week. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, what happens next depends on whether or not the lava lake drops below the groundwater level under the summit’s caldera.
In that case, there would be room for groundwater to rush in. The sudden influx of water could cause steam and pressure to build up, resulting in an explosive eruption.
At least 15 fissures have opened up below the summit on Kilauea. Each one has sent a fountain of lava into the air, all within a residential neighborhood. Dozens of homes have already been destroyed.
On Friday, President Trump approved disaster relief funds for Hawaii, after Governor David Ige requested help. The president officially declared the situation on The Big Island a disaster.
President Trump reportedly saw much of the aerial footage and photography coming out of Hawaii. The fissures in the ground can be seen from high above, and they’re still spewing noxious fumes. In addition, lava is creeping across the landscape, torching everything in its path.
Frustratingly for locals, the state has seen a sharp decline in tourism, even though most of the islands have been declared safe. For those that rely on the influx of cash from vacationers, it could be a tough summer on the volcanic island chain.
Travellers were already weary of the idyllic getaway after floods in April. The typically picturesque destination of Kauai was overcome with water, and now with the added fear of Kilauea, many are looking elsewhere for their summer adventures.
“My equivalent of this — and I’m from South Florida where we have hurricanes — is driving quite literally into a hurricane,” said Rachel Smigelski-Theiss. She spoke to Daily Mail about her cancelled plans to visit Kilauea with her family this summer. She and her husband intended to take their 5-year-old daughter right up to the crater, but now they’re looking for something else to do.