Los Angeles, May 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Authorities in Hawaii have warned of dangerous "laze" fumes as molten lava from the erupting Kilauea volcano reached the Pacific Ocean.
Two lava flows "reached the ocean along the southeast Puna coast overnight," on Hawaii's Big Island, the US Geological Survey, which monitors volcanoes and earthquakes worldwide, said in a statement on Sunday.
A crack however opened in the ground under one of the lava channels, "diverting the lava... into underground voids," the statement said.
When the hot lava flow hits the water it produces acid fumes known as "laze" - lava and haze.
"The plume is an irritating mixture of hydrochloric acid gas (HCl), steam, and tiny volcanic glass particles," the USGS said.
"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows."
The USGS also warned that volcanic gas emissions "have tripled as a result of the voluminous eruptions."
Moderate winds means that areas downwind from the volcano "may experience varying levels of vog," or volcanic smog, a haze created when emissions react to oxygen, moisture, dust, and sunlight, the USGS said.
One giant lava flow grew to six meters in height and blocked a portion of Highway 137, seriously impacting area residents, Hawaii News Now reported.
Kilauea is the world's most active volcano and one of five on Hawaii's Big Island.
It started erupting on May 3, prompting about 2,000 people to flee from their mountainside homes.
Scientists believe the volcanic activity may be a precursor to a major eruption similar to the one that shook the island in the mid-1920s.
But they say they expect no loss of life given that the most exposed residential areas have been evacuated and the region where the volcano is located -- on the southeastern part of the island -- is lightly populated.
Authorities have warned residents to stay away from the evacuated neighbourhoods, warning that toxic sulfur dioxide seeping out of nearly two dozen fissures could prove deadly.
PAHOA, HAWAII, May 20, 2018 (News Wires) – Lava oozing out of cracks for two weeks in rural Hawaii neighborhoods took on new characteristics as fresher magma mixed with decades-old magma, sending a flow towards the ocean Saturday.
The first known serious injury in the eruptions was reported on Saturday.
“A homeowner on Noni Farms Road who was sitting on a third-floor balcony got hit with lava spatter,” said Janet Snyder, a spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii.
“It hit him on the shin and shattered everything there down on his leg,” she said, adding that lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill.” No other information was immediately available.
Since a first fissure opened in a community on May 3, lava was mostly spattering up and collecting at the edges of the cracks in the ground. Two neighborhoods with nearly 2,000 people were forced to evacuate as lava claimed 40 structures.
On Friday afternoon, the lava changed dramatically, with one fissure ramping up and sending a flow across a road, destroying four more homes and isolating residents, some of whom had to be airlifted to safety.
The change is attributed to new magma mixing with 1955-era magma in the ground, creating hotter and more fluid flows, scientists said.
“There’s much more stuff coming out of the ground and it’s going to produce flows that move further away,” said Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist.
By Saturday morning, two of 22 fissures had merged, creating a wide flow advancing at rates of up to 300 yards (274 meters) per hour. Aerial footage from the USGS showed fast-moving lava advancing to the southeast. The flow was 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the ocean, scientists said.
In the background, the footage showed lava fountaining 328 feet (100 meters) high at one of the fissures. The fountains are created by vents closing, forcing magma to burst through a single outpoint, Stovall said.
If lava threatens main highways, more people will be told to prepare for voluntary evacuation.
A lava flow was less than a mile (kilometer) away from Highway 137 and would reach it in a matter of hours, officials warned Saturday afternoon. No one lives in its path and another highway remained open as an escape route, said Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder.
PAHOA, Hawaii, May 9, 2018 (AP) — Police went door-to-door in Hawaii to roust residents near two new vents emitting dangerous gases in areas where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.
Authorities ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave two communities in the mostly rural district of Puna on Hawaii’s Big Island last Thursday. Some ignored the order and stayed to watch over their property.But on Tuesday, the emergence of the two new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue a cellphone alert ordering stragglers in Lanipuna Gardens to get out immediately. Police followed up with personal visits.
“There were a number of people at their residences,” Talmadge Magno, the administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defence, said at a news briefing. There was no sign of holdouts in Lanipuna afterward, he said.
Both communities are in a forested, remote part of the Big Island on the eastern flank of Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983.
In recent years the volcano has mostly released lava in hard-to-reach areas inside a national park or along the coastline. But last week, vents popped open and released lava, gas and steam inside residential neighbourhoods.There’s no indication when the eruption might stop, or how far the lava might spread.
There were about 1,700 residents in Leilani Estates and a few hundred in Lanipuna Gardens before last week.
Officials warn that lava could flow downhill and burn areas that are not currently in danger, and toxic volcanic gas could kill people, especially the elderly and those with breathing problems.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige told evacuees he has called the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to tell officials that he believes the state will need help to deal with the volcano on the Big Island.
There are 14 lava-and-gas producing fissures in Leilani Estates, after the two new ones formed Tuesday. But the flow of lava is not constant.
A total of 36 structures, including 26 confirmed homes, have been destroyed. Aerial surveys cannot make out whether some of the structures are homes or other types of buildings.
PAHOA, Hawaii, May 6, 2018 (Reuters) - More homes on Hawaii's Big Island were destroyed on Saturday as eruptions linked to the Kilauea volcano increased, spewing lava into residential areas and forcing nearly 2,000 people to evacuate, officials said.
Scientists forecast more eruptions and more earthquakes, perhaps for months to come, after the southeast corner of the island was rocked by a 6.9 tremor on Friday, the strongest on the island since 1975.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said on Saturday that several new lava fissures had opened in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna District, about 19kmfrom the volcano. Not all the fissures were still active, it added.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said at midday local time on Saturday that "eruptive activity is increasing and is expected to continue."
Janet Babb, a spokeswoman for the observatory, said by telephone that the eruptions could carry on "for weeks or months."
Babb said the activity since Thursday is beginning to show similarities to another event in the area in 1955 that lasted for 88 days, when far fewer people lived near the volcano.
Although no significant lava flows have yet formed, additional outbreaks of lava, which can reach temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,150 Celsius), were expected, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.
The Hawaii Fire Department reported "extremely dangerous air quality conditions due to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area," civil defense officials said on Saturday. The gas can cause skin irritations and breathing difficulties.
Ken Smith of Mountain View on the island ran errands on Friday evening on streets usually busy with pre-weekend traffic, "but the roads were totally empty," he said by telephone. "It felt almost apocalyptic."
Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 125 square km, according to the USGS.
LOS ANGELES, May 5, 2018 (News Wires) - A magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook Hawaii's Big Island late Friday, prompting fresh eruptions from a volcano that has been spewing lava near residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to flee.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck at 12:32 pm (2232 GMT) and was centered on the south flank of the Kilauea volcano, which first erupted on Thursday after a series of tremors.
"This is in almost exactly the same location as the deadly 1975 M 7.1 quake," USGC said in a tweet.
That quake killed two people and injured 28.
Another 5.7-magnitude tremor had hit the island earlier on Friday and authorities said they expect more seismic activity.
The quakes have prompted the Kilauea volcano, one of five active on the island, to erupt.
Drone and video footage showed orange magma gushing up from cracks in the ground and snaking through a wooded area.
Molten lava could also be seen bubbling up through cracks on streets in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhood where residents were ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
The area is home to about 1,700 people and 770 structures. The broader district potentially impacted by the threat is home to some 10,000 people.
No injuries have been reported but several homes were said to have been destroyed or badly damaged on Friday, authorities said.
Officials urged any remaining residents to evacuate and warned of extremely high levels of toxic fumes.
"Hawaii Fire Department reports extremely dangerous air quality conditions due to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area," the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.
"Elderly, young and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area," said a statement from the mayor's office.
May 4, 2018 – A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit Hawaii on Thursday at 20:30:56 (UTC), amid volcanic activities, USGS said.
The earthquake occurred at a depth of 6.9km, 18km S of Fern Acres, Hawaii, 19.344°N 155.070°W.