Volcano tourists have picked the ideal time to visit Hawaii

15 May, 2018, 13:52 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Hawaii County map shows the proximity of the new breakout to Puna Geothermal Venture

The planned airlift of 2,000 residents using four Black Hawk helicopters will begin if new volcanic fissures close off road access to semi-rural neighbourhoods.

Scientists had expected such explosions by the middle of this month as Kilauea's lava lake fell below the water table.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said new fissures, ground deformation and abundant volcanic gases indicate eruptions on the eastern flank of Kilauea are likely to continue.

One concern right now is that residents could be trapped by lava flows, toxic fumes, and debris if the volcano erupts.

Lava explosions, known as "spatter bombs", have launched hundreds of feet into the air over the past two days according to the U.S. Geological Survey, as observers documented the opening of the two newest fissures.

Barrios took shelter on the deck of a neighbor's house as he filmed the fissure spew lava into the air.

Last week, the local rescue service carried out the evacuation of about 2,000 people, mostly residents of the village of Lehalani Estates. "There are no homes or roads threatened at this time".

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An active fissure that was reported Sunday morning initially was called No. 18 but will be labeled No. 17.

"We've been telling them, 'evacuate if you can, because if we have to come in and get you, we'll be putting first responders at risk", Hickman said.

It opened over the weekend on the Big Island about 100 feet from Fissure No. 16, which spewed lava for about 250 yards.

The agency says one "unidentified structure" was destroyed by the new vent, bringing the total number of homes and other buildings lost to lava to almost 40.

A 19th fissure opened Monday in Lanipuna Gardens, the area neighboring Leilani Estates, which was hardest hit by quakes and lava flows, the largest in decades from the volcano.

Geologists warn that Kilauea's summit could have an explosive steam eruption that would hurl huge rocks and ash miles into the sky. The field of hardened lava rocks in the foreground is from previous eruptions.

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