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Danger Continues to Grow for Hawaii Residents with Kilauea Volcano

15 May 2018, 04:21 | Marta Robbins

Two more volcano fissures opened in Hawaii, hurling lava bombs hundreds of feet

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The Hawaii Fire Department issued a "condition red" alert on Monday because fissures in the southeast area of the Lanipuna Gardens area were issuing high levels of sulfur dioxide.

The gas is especially harmful for elderly, young children and babies and people with respiratory problems, and may cause choking, the agency officials said Monday.

A new volcanic fissure on Hawaii's Big Island has sent gases and lava exploding into the air.

Since eruptions began 10 days ago, dozens of homes have been destroyed and officials have ordered the evacuations of almost 2000 people in the lower Puna district of the Big Island, home to around 187,000 residents.

"So far those explosions have not occurred and I think the key here is that the vent system is an open one, therefore pressure is not being built or developed down at the top of the lava column", Brantley told a conference call.

Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island's tourism board.

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Authorities say the volcano has produced almost 20 active lava fissures and destroyed more than two dozen homes. The industry grew the fastest on the Big Island a year ago compared to other islands in the archipelago, pulling in about $2.5 billion in visitor spending.

Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed since Friday, due to several possible threats including a possible steam explosion at Kilauea.

The rolling eruptions of Kilauea, which have caused hundreds of earthquakes, forced thousands of people in the nearby communities to evacuate. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says a lava flow has now formed and is slowly moving toward the ocean, which is about two miles (3.2 kilometers) away. The County of Hawaii Civil Defense advised residents to leave the area to minimize exposure to the toxic gas hazard and to get medical attention if severely affected. The field of hardened lava rocks in the foreground is from previous eruptions.

Almost 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon blow its top with a massive steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash miles into the sky.

In this May 13, 2018 frame from video released by the U.S. Geological Survey, gases rise from a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii.



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