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12 May 2018, 01:53 | Megan Pierce
A geologist walks along a road near the town of Pahoa Hawaii
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 summitcrater 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 HawaiiVolcanoes 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 summitcrater. 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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