Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Eruption at Risk of Entering Explosive Phase

12 May, 2018, 04:24 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Puna Geothermal Venture. Hawaii 24/7 File

Fifteen of the vents are now spread through the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighbourhoods.

Barbara Lozano, who lives inside a mile of the plant, mentioned she would have thought twice about shopping for her property if she had recognized the dangers.

They include Medicine Lake Volcano in Modoc County, Mt. Shasta to the west, Lassen Volcanic National Park, which erupted about 100 years ago, the Long Valley Volcanic Region near Mammoth Lakes, the Coso Volcanic Fields in Eastern California, and the Salton Buttes near the Mexican border. And for volcanologists, the eruption is an opportunity to share with the public what we know about how these massive, intricate systems work. Geologists warned Wednesday that Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could erupt explosively and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air around its summit in the coming weeks. Most of the remainder of the Big Island is unaffected for now, as are the other Hawaiian Islands.

The volcano, which has been spitting and sputtering lava for a week, has destroyed more than two dozen homes and threatened a geothermal plant.

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Hawaii's governor is asking President Donald Trump to declare the state a disaster because of earthquakes and a volcanic eruption on the Big Island.

Steaming ground cracks from volcanic activity, the first signs a fissure may open, closed roads in areas to the northeast and southwest of Leilani Estates, where scientists believe the next lava vents may appear.

As pressure builds, eventually Kilauea will explode steam, hurling any loose rocks with it - a phenomenon known as a phreatic explosion, Tina Neal, a geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said at the news conference.

Charles Mandeville, volcano hazards coordinator for the US Geological Survey said: "If it goes up, it will come down".

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Cindy McMillan, communications director for Ige's office, said the goal of the summary was to prove that the disaster has cost more than the $1.9 million threshold required for federal assistance. As of this morning, the USGS says the lava lake level continues to drop and seismic activity is high.

"This volcano is very unique and we're lucky that it's not as risky as other volcanoes and we're able to go and see it without having it pose a threat to our safety", said Holowath.

At the current rate of change, that is about six or seven days away.

During steam-driven explosions, ballistic blocks up to two yards across could be thrown in all directions to a distance of about a half mile. When the water hits the lava, it also steams. And the dropped rocks maintain that steam in till it blows. The result was an explosion at 8:29 a.m. local time on May 10 that sent a plume of rocks and ash up a thousand feet above the volcano for about one hour. If another blast happens, the danger zone could extend about 3 miles from the summit to land that all falls within the national park, Mandeville said. Janet Coney is office manager of the Kilauea Lodge, an inn and restaurant.

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"The earthquakes that we get at volcanoes can tell us an terrible lot of what the magma is doing as it's moving through the rocks", Johnson told CBC News.

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