The lava flowing from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has stopped 700 yards short of the shopping center it was expected to hit. The merchants running shops in Pahoa Marketplace are seeing the halt as a Christmas miracle.
Officials report that the lava flow halted its march toward the shopping center on Monday, according to the Huffington Post. However, lava breakouts upslope of the original flow could pose a problem if they overtake the stalled lava. Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator, says that those upslope flows have only moved 50 yards from Monday morning to Wednesday afternoon. The active lava closest to the shopping center is between 100 and 150 yards wide.
— KSLA News 12 (@KSLA) December 28, 2014
Several stores in Pahoa Marketplace closed before the advancing lava, reported by the Associated Press. Other stores remained open for Christmas shopping. Oliveira said that he hoped the stem in the lava flow was a good sign.
“I think the merchants are seeing some relief with this. Hopefully this is an indication of a change in the flow.”
The shopping center merchants shared their joy as well, including Becky Petersen, who owns a clothing boutique named Jungle Love.
“Somebody told me it’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t know what it is. I know it’s a real blessing.”
Our hearts go out to Pahoa residents this week as they prepare for the Puna lava flow to… http://t.co/AGMVDzsLZP pic.twitter.com/fLCNcN6eOT
— Bishop Museum (@bishopmuseum) December 22, 2014
Peterson hopes that the potential change in the lava’s direction will mean a return to normality for the shopping center.
“We’re hoping everybody’s coming back here and can have a life again. This is the community where we eat. We get our supplies from this area. It’s not just Jungle Love or one spot, it’s everyone here together. It serves the community, and without it we’re pretty lost.”
Steven Brantley, who is a scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, says that the Kilauea volcano is still active. Lava branching upslope indicates that the volcano is still producing molten rock that could threaten the shopping center and other parts of Big Island. Only the front edge of the lava flow has stalled.
— Lisa Hamilton (@LisaHamilton808) December 21, 2014
The Inquisitr covered news of the first outbreak of lava on Hawaii’s Big Island. Earlier flows threatened a major roadway that would have blocked traffic around the island. Homes and residents were threatened by the lava. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi declared a state of emergency as the lava neared homes and Highway 130.
[Photo Source: SF Gate]