Kilauea volcano lava covers potentially explosive well in Hawaii

Sergio Conner
May 30, 2018

A lava flow advances down Leilani Street close to Nohea Street, in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 27, 2018.

Tam Hunter told Evans the active lava was two blocks away from his house, but he's packing up and getting out after a 20-foot-deep crack opened up on his property and destroyed his neighbor's home. The agency shared pictures of the steaming black piles, noting that methane bursts were audible in the surrounding woods.

As of Friday, lava had destroyed 82 structures, including 37 homes.

"Exposure to 500 ppm (parts per million) can cause a human to fall unconscious in 5 minutes and die in an hour or less", said the USGS. Areas among Kamaili Road are experiencing elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, Civil Defense said.

A fresh eruption from the summit's Halemaumau crater on Monday sent ash nearly 4600m into the air, said Maureen Ballard, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Honolulu. As trade winds diminish, the area affected by vog - or volcanic smog - could expand, the agency said.

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The lava flow from the Kilauea volcano we have all been watching for the past few weeks now covers more than 3,200 acres, or 3.7 square miles of land.

HVO also warned of high volcanic gas emissions and lightweight volcanic glass known as Pele's hair emerging from Fissure 8 and traveling downwind.

Lava has oozed over two wells at the Puna geothermal power plant, but county officials said the flow stopped.

The latest series of explosions come during the fourth week of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles from Hawaii island in a century, reported Reuters.

Three recent graduates of UH-Hilo are among the USGS personnel working around the clock to gather and analyze up-to-the-minute information on the eruption and lava flows. Authorities say there has not been a release of gases there.

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