Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

New volcano vents prompt more evacuations in Hawaii

New volcano vents prompt more evacuations in Hawaii

"The regular decreasing of the lava lake in Overlook crater inside Halemaumau on the summit of Kilauea volcano has raised the potential for explosive eruptions within the coming weeks", the USGS stated in a press release. Minor ashfall could occur over much wider areas, even up to several tens of miles from Halemaʻumaʻu.

Smaller (pebble-size) rocks could be sent several kilometers (miles) from Halemaʻumaʻu, mostly in a downwind direction.

Talmadge Magno, the civil defense administrator for Hawaii County, said authorities also has asked a geothermic plant located half a mile from a Leilani Estates fissure to remove 12,000 gallons of a highly flammable chemical fuel from the area.

The risk of explosions is the latest possibility in a chain of events that began April 30 with the collapse of a lava-filled crater 12 miles east of the summit. The pool of magma drained back into an underground reservoir and pushed its way into deep channels carrying the molten rock farther downslope.

The plant is across the highway from where lava has been erupting in the Leilani Estates residential neighbourhood.

An incredible video from within the main summit of Kilauea shows the hot lava lake.

That raises the risk for an explosion at the summit.

A rock fall could create a dam, causing the steam to build pressure until it bursts through the dam as an explosion.

Scientists estimate that the lava could interact with the groundwater by the middle of this month.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has warned that Wednesday's explosion could be the first in a sequence of enormous eruptions.

Kilauea is one of the most active and well-monitored volcanoes in the world. That's because an influx of water inside could cause steam-driven explosions. It was probably caused by a nearby quake that dislodged rocks that fall into the lava lake, Ms Neal said.

Wednesday's USGS warning came as residents in the community of Leilani Estates have been under siege from lava.

But the eruptions could resume.

The amount of acid rain depends on the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the air, CNN's Guy says. The total number of fissures that have spewed lava held at 14.

Authorities are monitoring the activity in each of the districts and some of the 1,700 residents displaced have had brief opportunities to return home to collect pets and essential possessions or medications. In his emergency declaration, the governor noted the current flow was similar to a 1960 eruption in the Kapoho area that "caused significant damage". Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira reports there was a burglary in the evacuation area.

David Ige issued a mandatory evacuation order for the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, affecting some 1,500 people.

"In this case in Hawaii, a lot of these are preexisting cracks that are in the ground due to either previous eruptions or due to the slow motion of this unstable slope that's over time sliding into the ocean", Gallen said. The closest resorts, in Kona and the Kohala Coast, are more than 100 miles away on the west side of the island.

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