Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Mile-long lava path flows towards ocean in Hawaii

Mile-long lava path flows towards ocean in Hawaii

On Monday, the Hawaii State Department of Health warned residents in Lanipuna Gardens of unsafe levels of sulfur dioxide gas. "This is a serious situation that affects the entire exposed population".

"Condition RED means immediate danger to health, so take action to limit further exposure", Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said on Twitter.

CNN reports the week after Kilauea erupted on May 3, the island lost about $1.5 million.

On Monday, another fissure spewing lava and unhealthy gas opened up, and a crack in the earth that emerged a day earlier was sending molten rock on a slow run for the ocean, officials said.

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Unsafe levels of sulphur dioxide gas and other emissions prompted state health officials to urge residents to stay indoors or leave the eastern end of Hawaii's Big Island, which has been ravaged by volcanic activity since May 3.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a fissure opened Saturday 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. A handful of cruise ships have also decided not to come into port even in Kona on the west side of the island, about 80 miles away from the volcano. No evacuations have been ordered from Ka'u district.

But the U.S. Geological Survey also has warned that pent-up steam could cause an explosion at the top of the volcano as the pool of lava recedes, launching a 20,000-foot (6,100-meter) plume that could spread debris over 12 miles (19 kilometers).

Marques, who has asthma, told the news outlet the particles in the air has made it harder for her to breathe.

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"It sounded like hammers in the dryer", she said. The eruptions have opened 20 vents in the ground, while lava has destroyed more than 40 structures, including two dozen homes. Officials hope to reopen the highway Tuesday morning to local traffic.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution as metal plates will be placed over the cracks on the roadway, according to the agency.

"Eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the northeast end of the active fissure system", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a briefing.

Emergency officials are continuing to advise people in the affected area to leave, and remain concerned about those who continue to stay behind.

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