Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Hawaii volcano spewing lava forces evacuation

COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY           A view of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea on Monday COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY A view of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea on Monday
| 06 May, 2018, 03:18

Now, there is a real one.

Mount Kilauea volcano, one of five on Hawaii's Big Island, began erupting on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the past week, the USGS reported on its website.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a fissure produces steam from a street after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes and the eruption follows a series of recent earthquakes.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the second quake wasn't strong enough to cause a tsunami, and Hawaii's Department of Transportation said no damage had been reported to roads.

The latter was felt as far away as Oahu and struck in almost the exact same place as a deadly 7.4-magnitude natural disaster had in 1975, according to the USGS.

The evacuation warning order for a portion of Leilani Estates, a subdivision in the Puna District on Hawaii Island was given after a 5.0-magnitude quake hit the area Thursday.

Lava emerges from the ground after Kilauea Volcano erupted, on Hawaii's Big Island May 3, 2018, in this still image taken from video obtained from social media.

The USGS says areas downslope of the erupting vent are at risk of being covered by lava.


Brad Stanfill said the lava was more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from his house but he was not allowed in because of a mandatory evacuation order. Authorities also ordered an evacuation of Lanipuna Gardens, a smaller, more rural subdivision directly to the east.

The volcanic vents - each several hundred yards long - were found on Makamae, Kaupili and Mohala streets as well as near Kahukai Street and Pohoiki Road, officials said.

Even people living in areas that are safe from the eruptions have been unable to return because of lingering high levels of Sulphur dioxide, the report added. Exposure to the gas can cause irritation or burns, sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and coughing. It's in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which closed Friday and evacuated all visitors and nonemergency staff. Activity picked up earlier this week, indicating a possible new lava outbreak. "And so we are watching that very, very closely", Miklius said. "What we don't know is if this intrusive event is over or if it's just taking a pause and it may pick back up". Since then, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many homes. The geologic feature is the result of the island being on a "hot spot", which is a thermal plume shooting up from the Earth's depths.

At least two people have died since Thursday, according to reports.

Hawaii county mayor Harry Kim talked with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard during a community meeting to address concerns on Friday in Pahoa.

A new fissure opened up just before the latest tremor on Friday, the Defense Agency said in a text message, making a total of four found so far in residential areas.

County, state and federal officials had been warning residents all week that they should be prepared to evacuate because an eruption would give little warning. Post office officials said beginning today and until further notice, Hilo Downtown's P.O. box customers are asked to pick up their mail over the counter at the Hilo Main Post Office, 1299 Kekuanaoa St.

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