Volcano observatory warns of further 'explosive eruptions' in Hawaii

Volcano observatory warns of further 'explosive eruptions' in Hawaii

As fissures opened up on Kilauea's slopes, geologists also watched as levels of the Halema'uma'u lava lake at the volcano's summit dropped nearly 1,000 feet.

On May 3, the Kilauea volcano erupted forcing almost 2,000 people out of their homes and destroying dozens of buildings.

Ron Peters, 59, knew it was time to leave his home in the Opihikao community, 2.6 miles from Leilani Estates, when fruit trees and other vegetation began to die in the rotten-egg-smelling clouds of sulfur-dioxide gas.

Geologists expect new lava outbreaks in or around the already hard-hit Leilani Estates area in the southeastern Puna district, which is about 20 miles (32 km) south of Hilo, where 27 homes have been destroyed and all 1,900 residents have been evacuated.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes beginning on May 3, 2018, and continuing", White House said.

The pant sits on the edge of Leilani Estates, one of the areas where almost 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate as Kilauea spewed lava.

She says that's why the lava has been cool and has been moving a little sluggishly.

Warnings that Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could shoot boulders and ash out of its summit crater are prompting people to rethink their plans to visit the Big Island.

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Local meteorologists said the change in prevailing winds could send Kilauea's volcanic smog, or vog, north-west to Maui and other islands in Hawaii. No one lives in the immediate area of the summit. Smigelski-Theiss says she's anxious potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island. Adding to the distress, of the 36 structures destroyed, 26 were homes.

She had meant to visit Kilauea's summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons (189,270 liters) of pentane.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory scientist Tina Neal says communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash.

Authorities previously ordered almost 2,000 residents to leave the neighborhoods in and around the vents in the mostly rural district of Puna.

At a meeting on Thursday night, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Steve Brantley told residents that magma created by a 1955 eruption was being forced to the surface by Kilauea. But it never seems to take the easy path, and instead, forces itself up through rock; 15 fissures have opened since Kilauea's vents started spraying lava on May 3.

The small, aptly named town of Volcano, Hawaii, population 2,500, is about three miles from the summit.

Scientists can't be certain when the eruptions at Kilauea will stop.

Authorities on Thursday completed the removal of highly flammable chemicals from a nearby geothermal power plant that was in the path of creeping lava.

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