The Science Behind Hawaii's Surprising 2018 Volcanic Eruption
15 May 2018, 10:53 | Darnell Patrick
Hawaii County map shows the proximity of the new breakout to Puna Geothermal Venture
Geologists warn that Kilauea's summit could have an explosive steam eruption that would hurl huge rocks and ash miles into the sky. Residents in both neighborhoods were ordered to evacuate in early May when fissures first began to appear, emitting lava and toxic gases.
Two new fissures opened up on Sunday.
The eruptions have forced over 2000 people to evacuate their homes, but local authorities say they hope tourists will still visit the island.
A new volcanic fissure opened up Monday on Hawaii's Big Island - bringing the total up to 19 - as fears continue to grow that one of the world's most active volcanos is headed toward a major eruption.
"This morning, activity is dominated by lava fountaining, the explosion of spatter more than 100 feet into the air, and an advancing lava flow from fissure 17 at the northeast end of the fissure system", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement. Since there was no lava, it's not considered an active fissure.
Forty homes and structures have been destroyed so far in this eruption.
Initial reports stated that the lava bubbled up out of large fissures that had developed in the ground near a residential area, but the spattering and flow was so slow-moving that it didn't make it more than a few yards before cooling off.
The Big Island was hit with a double whammy almost two weeks ago - a 6.9 magnitude quake on May 4 and the Kilauea volcanic event that forced the evacuation of 1,700 residents in the Leilani Estates area about 35 miles from Hilo, ABC News reported. "It's like a nuclear reaction or something".
"The appearance of the fissures in the past couple of days does not change the overall picture or concern", Geological Survey scientist Steve Brantley said.
Christian and Maritza Ricks, who moved to the area from California in April, stopped on the side of the road to watch and listen to the latest eruption. "In a way it's kind of exciting to see what's going on and be this close to it".
Last week, the local rescue service carried out the evacuation of about 2,000 people, mostly residents of the village of Lehalani Estates.
In this May 13, 2018 photo released by the U.S. Geological Survey, gases rise from a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii.
This mesmerising video was shot at the 17th fissure to open up on the island, located near Pahoa. Plant workers last week removed 50,000 gallons of pentane stored at the site as a precaution.
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