Kilauea could erupt with 'once-in-a-century' explosion, geologists warn
12 May, 2018, 20:59 | Author: Edward Snyder
Warnings that Hawaii'sKilauea volcano could shoot boulders and ash out of its summit crater are prompting people to rethink their plans to visit the Big Island.
As fissures opened up on Kilauea's slopes, geologists also watched as levels of the Halema'uma'u lava lake at the volcano's summit dropped nearly 1,000 feet.
George Szigeti, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism says Kilauea is being monitored constantly and says the Big Island is "immense" and there are large parts that are unaffected by the volcano. Fifteen of the vents are now spread through the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods.
Flammable pentane has been moved out of a Hawaii geothermal plant that's near communities where lava has oozed from cracks in the ground.
The plant, which is owned by Ormat Technologies of Reno, Nevada, is across a highway from where lava has been erupting. It could also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles away, the agency said.
Workers are moving the fuel to an industrial park about 30 miles (48.2 kilometers) away. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate.
A similar 1924 explosion threw pulverized rock, ash and steam as high as 5.4 miles into the sky, (9 kilometers) for a couple of weeks.
"Because the lava intrusion is still active and earthquakes are still occurring, we still think there's a decent chance of new eruptive activity at the surface", Steven Brantley said. The magma would heat the water and create steam that would push accumulated rocks out in an explosion.
The Volcano Observatory says they can not predict with certainty if or when these steam driven explosions will occur or how large they might be.
"We suspect it's a rapid process". "Really it's worrying; we've been doing a lot of praying". No one lives in the immediate area of the summit.
Ken Gadd, a first-time visitor from Dayton, Ohio, takes pictures of the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Friday.
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Authorities ordered two subdivisions in the area to evacuate last week.
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But Hughes, a 45-year resident of the village of some 2,500 people, suspects he'll soon hear from adventurers and photographers who want to see the eruption up close.
"It's just disgusting. You can't breathe in there", Robynn Stagg, an evacuated resident who drove through the orange sulfur dioxide haze while trying to check on her home, told Reuters.
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