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"Explosive" Eruptions Now Possible at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

12 May 2018, 01:53 | Megan Pierce

"Explosive" Eruptions Now Possible at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

Such explosions can release tall clouds of ash and toxic gas and throw rocks - so called "ballistic blocks" - as far as eight football field lengths.

A new explosion could send ash, steam, sulfur dioxide, and boulders spewing from the summit crater in all directions. No one saw or heard the first explosion of that event, they just noticed rocks flung out of the crater overnight. "So if you are, I believe, a half-mile radius of the eruption site - that's where it could be deadly", says Jessica Ferracane of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which will shut down indefinitely on Friday. However, natural disaster activity and ground deformation continue and additional outbreaks in the general area of Leilani Estates are likely. Authorities also recently ordered 2,000 residents to leave their homes in the Puna district, however, some residents have opted to stay behind to watch over their property and prevent their homes from being looted.

Kilauea, the longest-erupting volcano on the planet and normally one of the most visited, began releasing red-hot lava last Thursday in the midst of two semi-rural neighbourhoods, about 25 miles east of the summit crater. And with new fissures opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious. Fifteen vents are now spread through the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods.

Most of these volcanoes are situated in the Ring of Fire, an area of intense seismic activity in the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and eruptions occur. Ige said crews at the plant near the lava outbreak accelerated the removal of stored flammable fuel with safety in mind. Communities about 2 miles away could showered by pea-size rock fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash, said Tina Neal, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. But all of the pentane is expected to be removed by the end of the day today (May 10), the Associated Press reported.

"He said 'That lava's underneath your house, '" said Conda. And with new fissures are opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious. More than a dozen fissures oozing lava have opened in the ground.

Right now, researchers say, the fissures seem to be the biggest threat to public safety.

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Visitors take pictures as Kilauea's summit crater glows red in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Wednesday, May 9, 2018.

The volcano has already been oozing lava, which has gobbled up roads and homes and emitted risky gases.

NASA was able to capture a huge plume of ash erupting from Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

While scary, volcanic eruptions are nearly as ubiquitous to the island's residents as its stunning beaches and verdant tropics.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists say earthquakes have been progressing downrift from Leilani Estates, which has been ground zero for a Kilauea eruption since May 3.

"In 1988, the drinking water of almost 40% of homes using such systems in the Kona Districts of the island was found to be contaminated with lead leached by acid rain", the USGS said.



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