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More evacuations in Hawaii as new volcanic fissure sends lava exploding into air

May 14, 2018 3:27 PM
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The new fissure was discovered Sunday morning as residents await a possible major eruption.

Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, watched from a police checkpoint as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees.

“I’ve actually seen rocks fly over the tree line and I can feel it in my body,” Schott said. “It’s like a nuclear reaction or something.”

The new opening still showed signs of activity Sunday afternoon and was about 300 metres long, officials said.

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

“The appearance of the fissures in the past couple of days does not change the overall picture or concern,” USGS scientist Steve Brantley said.

Christian and Maritza Ricks, who moved to the area from California in April, stopped at the side of the road to watch and listen to the latest eruption.

He said he wasn’t really afraid of the destruction happening around him.

“In a way it’s kind of exciting to see what’s going on and be this close to it,” Christian Ricks said.

Most of the lava outbreaks have occurred in and around Leilani Estates, where molten rock has burst through the ground, destroying more than two dozen homes and resulting in evacuation orders for nearly 2,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported nearly 20 active fissures. One that opened Saturday night was spattering, but no flow had formed.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant, where steam and hot liquid are brought up through underground wells and the steam feeds a turbine generator to produce electricity.

Plant workers last week as a precaution removed 189,265 litres of a flammable liquid stored at the site.

Geologists have warned that Kilauea’s summit could have an explosive steam eruption that would hurl boulders and ash miles into the sky.

Source: thestar.com

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