Evacuations urged in Hawaii as lava flow advances

Lava reaches area of geothermal power station in Hawaii
Kilauea Volcano's Lava Seen from Space Glowing at Night

01 June, 2018

Twitter user Jay Furr got in touch with the USGS volcano crew to ask the pressing question, "Is it safe to roast marshmallows over volcanic vents?"

Well, the U.S. Geological Survey took a break from its usual serious updates to answer the pondering minds on social media.

Like I've said before, this eruption at Kīlauea has shown off some of the great science and technology used by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and U.S. Geological Survey to help understand eruptions and keep citizens safe.

"If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 [sulfur dioxide] or H2S [hydrogen sulfide], they would taste BAD", USGS said on Twitter.

An active fissure in the hard-hit Leilani Estates community began belching lava at a faster rate on Sunday, forcing some residents to evacuate and leaving one man briefly trapped in his home. But the Island of Hawaii is made up of 5 volcanoes, and only Kilauea is erupting.

Kilauea rumbled back to life on May 3 as it began extruding lava and toxic gases through a series of cracks in the ground on its eastern flank, marking the latest phase of an eruption cycle that has continued almost nonstop for 35 years.

Fast-moving lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano forced officials to close part of a highway on Tuesday, and they warned that sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers carried by the wind could injure eyes and lungs. The official added the haze is expected to dissipate by the end of Thursday morning but will likely return as Kilauea continues to erupt.

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Lava flows from multiple fissures have blocked roads and damaged dozens of buildings on Hawaii's Big Island. About 300 people are staying at three American Red Cross emergency shelters, while hundreds more are staying with friends and family.

The lava breached the property overnight.

As the lava and fissures spread, so does the devastation, with many evacuees not knowing what they will return to when they are allowed home.

The eruption of Kilauea volcano, a major tourist attraction on the Big Island, has not affected flights in the area but its eruption is expected to affect tourism. The biggest impacts might be vog, but that has been a persistent issue on the island for decades. Randy's house is gone.

"Rather than shock and surprise it was more of a resolve that, okay, it's come to us now", Steven Neill, a Kapoho evacuee, told CNN affiliate KGMB/KHNL on Wednesday.

In fact, the current lava eruptions in Puna are as hot as Hawaii's lava will ever get.

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