Saturday, 26 May, 2018

US Geological Survey issues 'red alert' for Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii volcano eruption USGS volcanoes USA GETTYVolcano WARNING There are 169 active volcanoes rumbling away in the US
Charlie Simmons | 17 May, 2018, 01:50

The Kilauea volcano is located on the southeast side of Hawaii island, also known as Big Island, which has a population of 185,000.

Plume activity at the summit might not be as robust on Wednesday, Poland said.

It adds: "At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent". Even though the ash itself isn't poisonous, people still need to worry about toxic gas.

It presents a new hazard for the islanders, who have already had to deal with volcanic gas and lava that forced the evacuation of almost 2,000 residents and caused the destruction of 37 homes in the past 12 days.

A plume of red ash rose from the volcano's Pu'u 'O'o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media.

Still, numerous fissures are emitting "quite a bit" of sulfur dioxide.

"According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory there is no geologic evidence for an tsunami-generating quake at this time". Fissure 17, which had put out a flow more than a mile toward the ocean, has not advanced since Tuesday, they said.

Hawaii volcano Kilauea eruption
GETTYHawaii volcano Kilauea has been erupting since May 3

CNN's Stephanie Elam said her heart started pounding as she approached one fissure.

The Hawaii State Department of Health is asking the general public to avoid any area with fissures because the gases emitted require special cartridge respirators.

Dozens of homes and swathes of farmland in that area have been destroyed.

Authorities on Tuesday reported a new fissure opened up in the adjoining Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, near Leilani Estates subdivision, bringing the number of cracks in the ground spitting out lava and toxic gas to almost 20 since the eruption began May 3.

The intense heat of this material hitting the water causes the water to boil, which in turn creates an explosion of steam, water, ash, rock, and lava bombs.

But it will be hard to warn residents who may be in the path of such an eruption. Wind conditions are expected to change in the next 24 hours and other areas around Kilauea's summit are likely to receive ashfall.

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