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Hawaii residents shaken by quakes, brace for new lava outbreaks

Hawaii residents shaken by quakes, brace for new lava outbreaks”

The Kilauea volcano began erupting last week, so far destroying about 36 structures and covering more than a hundred acres of land in lava. Toxic steam of lava was released across Hawaii's Big Island.

"It's just disgusting. You can't breathe in there", said evacuated resident Robynn Stagg, 58, who drove through the thick, orange sulfur dioxide haze earlier this week in a failed attempt to check on her home.

Just hours after the fissure opened up on Saturday morning, red and black lava had piled up about 40 feet high and more than 150 feet in length, while magma chunks sprayed up to 100 feet in the air, Reuters reported.

"Many of these earthquakes are related to the ongoing subsidence of the summit area and earthquakes beneath the south flank of the volcano".

A spokesman said: "Lava from this latest outbreak is actively spattering and degassing but no flow has yet formed".

"More explosive activity generating larger ash clouds remains possible and can occur with no warning".

As lava levels drain lower inside the crater, the danger of an eruption can actually increase, as when molten rock reaches ground level it can shoot ash kilometres away from the crater.

Geologists said Kilauea may be entering a new phase of explosive eruptions not seen in almost a century that could hurl "ballistic blocks" weighing up to 12 tons for half a mile (800 meters), and rain pebble-sized fragments for another mile or two (1.8 to 3.2 km).

The national park around the summit was closed to visitors on Thursday, given the risk that the eruptions could launch refrigerator-sized "ballistic blocks" over half a mile and hurl pebble-sized projectiles for miles.

The Leilani Estates community remains in greatest danger, with 15 volcanic fissures so far having destroyed 36 structures, a lot of them homes, and forcing the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist Tina Neal said Friday that an analysis of rock samples indicates the lava's chemistry is similar to that from a 1955 eruption. "There are other communities, other residential neighborhoods that could, depending on the evolution of activity, be in harm's way".

Mr Trump declared a disaster on Friday following a request from Hawaii's governor, David Ige.



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