Volcano forces closure of popular Hawaii park

Volcano forces closure of popular Hawaii park

Volcano forces closure of popular Hawaii park

In turn, there will be an increased risk that falling rocks will plug the conduit for Halema'uma'u; as lava heats the underground pool of water, steam will form but will have nowhere to go. Kilauea has destroyed more than 35 structures since it began releasing lava from vents about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the summit crater.

Lava cools in Leilani Estates in the aftermath of the Kilauea volcano eruption on Hawaii's Big Island on May 10, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii.

"If it goes up, it will come down", said Charles Mandeville, volcano hazards coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey. "You do not need to be beneath something that weighs 10 tons when it is popping out at 120 miles per hour (193 kph)".

"Kilauea is a safe volcano to study, which is why many volcanologists consider that a ideal laboratory for viewing first-hand active volcanic processes", said Nair. And for volcanologists, the eruption is an opportunity to share with the public what we know about how these massive, intricate systems work.

He wouldn't estimate the chance of such an explosion, however mentioned the interior volcanic situations are altering in a method that might result in a blast in a few week.

Hawaii needs help - that's the message the state's governor sent President Donald Trump this week after volcanic activity continues to wreak havoc on the island.

Hawaii residents were alerted on Thursday to rising levels of toxic gas from volcanic fissures and geologists warned that Kilauea volcano may bring more fissures, lava, gas, and disaster.

Therefore, in the coming weeks it will be critical to follow the updates from the USGS and Civil Defense regarding the status of Kilauea, not only at the lava flow field down at Leilani Estates, but also at the summit.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige mentioned crews at a geothermal vitality plant close to the lava outbreak accelerated the elimination of saved flammable gasoline as a precaution. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant had about 50,000 gallons of pentane. It was eliminated early Thursday.

Barbara Lozano, who lives within a mile of the plant, said she would have thought twice about buying her property if she had known the risks.

"Why did they allow us to purchase residential property, figuring out it was a harmful scenario?"

"My equivalent of this - and I'm from South Florida where we have hurricanes - is driving quite literally into a hurricane", she said. "When you have that, it's Pele's way of clearing house and restoring the place".

This event - beautiful, destructive, frightening - also presents a moment for all of us to appreciate the huge power of the forces that never cease shaping our planet.

However, the immediate vicinity around the summit, an area controlled by the National Park Service, was to be closed to visitors indefinitely, starting on Thursday night.

The USGS reports that similar explosions are likely to happen again, especially after magma migrates into the rift zones on the volcano's flanks, which seems to be occurring now.

Meantime, if rock and other sediment have fallen inward, blocking the steam that's being created, intense pressure builds up.

The current visible phase of the eruption started about two weeks ago, with the formation of a scenic lava lake that generated 15 fissures oozing lava heated to between 1,300 and 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit along the outside lower eastern face of the volcano.

"Because of the unexpected darkness during daylight hours ... and the sometimes strong smell of sulfur during an ashfall, many people describe the experience as eerie and frightening, disorienting and confusing, or awful", the USGS says.

"This volcano is very unique and we're lucky that it's not as unsafe as other volcanoes and we're able to go and see it without having it pose a threat to our safety", said Holowath. And once the lava drops below the water table, water hits rocks that are as hot as nearly 2,200 degrees (1,200 degrees Celsius) and flashes into steam. Eventually, this may lead to an explosion that could shoot rocks as large as several tons up to half a mile away, pebbles several miles away and plume of ash up to 20 miles away.

The small, aptly named town of Volcano, Hawaii, population 2,500, is about 3 miles from the summit. Janet Coney is workplace supervisor of the Kilauea Lodge, an inn and restaurant. "We really don't know for certain", he told reporters on a conference call.

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