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Contact: Jessica Ferracane/Public Affairs Specialist, 808-345-4216Hawaii National Park, HI – Much of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been closed nearly three months due to hazards caused by frequent earthquakes triggered by collapse events at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano.
Although seismicity decreased over the weekend, the temblors – more than 18,000 in the last 30 days – have wreaked havoc throughout the park. Those magnitude 5.0 and higher riddle Highway 11, other park roads, overlooks and trails with dangerous sink holes and cracks. Jaggar Museum and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory buildings are damaged and stand empty. The summit crater, Halema‘uma‘u, has more than quadrupled in size as magma drains out to the lower East Rift Zone eruption outside the park. The new dimensions are staggering to those familiar with Halema‘uma‘u. Once 280 feet deep (85 meters), it is now more than 1,500 feet deep (457 meters) in places. Its volume has increased to 800,000,000 cubic meters, according to USGS, an amount equivalent to about 300,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.