Saturday, 15 December, 2018

New volcanic lava fissure in Hawaii prompts more evacuations

Hawaii volcano warning as poisonous gas spews from lava New fissures from Hawaii volcano, more eruptions feared
Kenny Thornton | 15 May, 2018, 10:56

Lava from the new fissures spewed high into the air along with toxic gas, and the area continues to be impacted by earthquakes, including a 3.5 magnitude quake that struck the island on Saturday.

"Eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the northeast end of the active fissure system", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a briefing.

"A narrow lava flow has been generated and is slowly moving toward the ocean, which is about two miles away", the agency said.

Kilauea volcano is near-constantly erupting from vents either on its summit (caldera) or on the rift zones.

Lava samples from the devastating volcanic eruptions on Hawaii's Big Island are being analyzed at Hamilton College.

A new fissure in Hawaii's Puna District sent gases and lava exploding into the air on Sunday, spurring officials to call for more evacuations as residents waited for a possible major eruption at Kilauea volcano's summit.

Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, on May 13, 2018.

Government officials also said that fissure No. 17, the most voluminous at about a 1,000-feet long, which claimed at least one structure, was still active on Monday, but no homes or roads were impacted. No homes or roadways are threatened by this flow.

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Cracks along the highway have worsened in the last few days, with authorities fearing even more fissures could form.

According to CNN, 2,000 people have been evacuated so far, and community centers are being made available to serve shelters for families and their pets.

"The appearance of the fissures in the past couple of days does not change the overall picture or concern", USGS scientist Steve Brantley said.

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported almost 20 active fissures.

The 17th fissure was torn open over the weekend and forced further people to abandon their homes in a desperate effort to reach safety.

While residents deal with noxious gas and lava on the ground, the U.S. Geological Survey is concerned that pent-up steam could cause a violent explosive eruption at the volcano crater, launching a 20,000-foot (6,100-meter) plume that could spread debris over 12 miles (19 km).

Plant workers last week as a precaution removed 50,000 gallons (189,265 liters) of a flammable liquid stored at the site.

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