Hawaii volcano erupts again as new fissures appear in ground

  09 May 2018    Read: 1463
Hawaii volcano erupts again as new fissures appear in ground

A volcano in Hawaii has erupted again, spewing toxic gases from two new vents and prompting authorities to call for an immediate evacuation of residents from a second neighbourhood.

Authorities had ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave two communities on Big Island last Thursday, but some ignored the order and decided to remain at home and watch over their property.

On Tuesday, the emergence of the two new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue an emergency bulletin ordering residents of Lanipuna Gardens to leave their homes immediately.

“Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms 2 new vents. All Lanipuna residents must evacuate now,” the agency said in its bulletin, adding the two vents which had opened near two road intersections were “actively erupting”.

Earlier on Tuesday, residents of the hardest hit area, known as Leilani Estates, drove through clouds of sulphur dioxide to rescue their pets and belongings.

The erupting volcano, Kilauea, has already destroyed 36 homes and other structures. 

No deaths or major injuries have been reported since the volcano, which has been in a state of nearly constant eruption since 1983, began a series of major explosions last Thursday, spewing fountains of lava as high as 300 feet (90 metres) into the air.

Kilauea has opened 14 lava-and-gas spewing fissures in total (Rex )
Some 1,700 residents were ordered to leave Leilani Estates, where lava has been bubbling out of fissures in the ground emanating from Kilauea lava tunnels on the eastern side of the Big Island.

New areas could be subject to evacuation as fingers of the fissure system slowly spread eastward, threatening neighbourhoods which until now had been considered safe.

“There’s still plenty of magma under the ground. Seismicity is still up,” the Hawaii Civil Defense administrator, Talmadge Magno, told a community meeting on Monday night.

“If things get dicey, you got to get out.”

On Friday, the southeastern corner of the island was rocked by a powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake on the volcano’s south flank, the strongest since 1975, and more quakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.

In total, Kilauea has opened 14 lava-and-gas spewing fissures after the two new ones formed on Tuesday.


The Independent

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