Hawaii Volcano Could Have Explosive Eruption — Federal Geologists

Posted May 10, 2018

The latest bursts of molten rock, ash and toxic gas from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii are part of an ever changing and still largely mysterious cycle of eruptions that have been at work for hundreds of thousands of years.

There are no threats to Nanawale Estates at this time, Hoawaii County Civil Defense officials said.

See photos sent on Wednesday from The Associated Press.

Should steam-driven explosions begin, ash clouds will rise to greater elevations above ground.

Steam-driven explosions at volcanoes typically provide very little warning.

A small natural disaster may have caused rockfalls into the crater and prompted Wednesday's explosion from the lava lake surface that shot projectiles out of the rim, said Tina Neal, the scientist in charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. At that point, steam pressure builds then explodes.

It may also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles (kilometers) away.

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The sulphuric gas poses another problem for elderly residents, or those with respiratory conditions, living downwind of the volcano, authorities warned.

Those fumes are called "vog" - or volcanic fog.

Kilauea, the USA state's most lively volcano, erupted on Thursday, and lava flows from its jap flank have destroyed no less than 36 properties and different buildings and brought about the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.

The estimated cost to protect residents over the next 30 days is expected to exceed $2.9 million, according to the governor's office.

The plant is across the highway from where lava has been erupting in the Leilani Estates residential neighbourhood. Gov. David Ige this afternoon issued an emergency proclamation to address concerns related to the geothermal energy plant, including creating a team to review and assess the existing PGV Emergency Response Plan and "develop a specific mission strategy deemed appropriate to mitigate potential impacts from lava". But that record pales in comparison to a volcano in Costa Rica that has been continuously erupting since 1968.

Puna Geothermal Venture could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Authorities had previously ordered almost 2,000 residents to leave Lanipuna Gardens and the neighboring Leilani Estates, both located in the mostly rural district of Puna on Hawaii's Big Island. But some ignored the order and stayed to watch over their property. There was no sign of holdouts in Lanipuna afterward, he said.

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You can't stop lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano with water, bombs or walls. If the situation at the summit worsens, the National Park Service said it would take action to evacuate people and close Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to visitors. This one is on the edge of the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision just east of Leilani Estates. The 500-foot fissure appeared in Leilani Estates.

The new eruptions brought to 14 the number of vents that have opened since Kilauea started spraying fountains of lava as high as 300 feet (90 meters) into the air.

"It indicates that it's a fairly common process and since they've been keeping track of these kind of eruptions, basically they've been keeping track over the last 250 years, you're getting eruptions on the Big Island about every four years", he explained. But the flow of lava is not constant.

Evans spoke to other residents this week who lived in the lava's path of destruction. "I guess it's kind of mixed emotions".

"If we lose our farm, we don't know where we're going to go".

"There's no coverage for the initial eruption, unless the property is damaged by the lava flow, or there is a fire after the eruption - fire is a covered peril", Wraight said.

Wednesday evening, NASA tweeted an image from a satellite that passed over the volcanic activity in Hawaii.

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