The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 00:00

Cracks open in Hawaii and threaten local house

Cracks open up beneath big island home Cracks open up beneath big island home.

After dealing with volcanic ash and toxic gasses spewing from the fissures left behind, the residents in the Leilani Estates community have to copy with enormous cracks.

Ground cracks are associated with volcanic activity and generally occur near active or recently active volcanic vents as the result of shallow underground movement of magma. The beginning of an eruption at a new site is preceded by cracking of the ground as magma is forcefully injected into the area. The cracks may be as much as 2m. wide. Typically they form within a period of hours. The area on Kilauea's lower east rift zone experienced such ground breakage in 1924, 1955, and 1960. The hazard presented by ground cracks associated with eruptions is usually limited to area near the active vent and thus is overshadowed by the hazard posed by lava flows. Structures that escape other damage in the eruption can be damaged or destroyed by cracking, tilting, or settling of the ground beneath them. Therefore, ground cracks that remain after the eruption can pose a threat.

In general, if a construction is unable to accommodate the movement of the ground, cracking or further damage of the bearing structure is likely to occur. In case of significant differential displacements, structural damage or differential subsidence can be catastrophic for a common building.

An enormous crack developed in the Leilani Estates region was documented by Tam Hunt. A house of a family lies on it, still above ground, but a corner of the property looks like it's barely holding on from crumbling into the abyss below. "I saw the family checking their house on Friday and the crack was not as bad. I went back Monday and noticed that it had gotten worse, so I texted (the homeowner) about it," Hunt told CNN. The family has been living in this home for 27 years but it is almost sure that the crack has made the habitation impossible. "I expect the home to be completely gone soon, every time we go back to see the damage, we notice that the earthquakes keep making the cracks wider and wider," said Hunt.


Read 365 times Last modified on Friday, 15 June 2018 14:40

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