Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Lava from Hawaii volcano creates toxic cloud after entering sea

Lava from Hawaii volcano creates toxic cloud after entering sea

Laze is created when hot lava hits the ocean, sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.

Experts warn the laze cloud could travel 15 miles, another worry for emergency officials along with flying "lava bombs" that can weigh as much as refrigerators.

The acid in the plume is about as corrosive as diluted battery acid, scientists say.

Because of lava entering the ocean, the US Coast Guard enforced a Lava Entry Safety Zone Sunday for the navigable waters around the Kilauea Volcano.

Officials continue to monitor the situation, conducting overflight assessments of the volcano.

More explosive events like the one on Friday could make for minor amounts of ashfall downwind at any time, and volcanic ash emissions remain high.

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The bulletins also warned that reports of toxic sulphur dioxide gas being vented from various points around the volcano had tripled.

The lava shut down about a 4-mile section of the highway, between Kamaili and Pohoiki roads, blocking one of the main escape routes for the area's coastal residents. Eruptions started in May after the archipelago's Big Island was shaken by two large earthquakes.

The flows began forming on May 3, after several fissures opened up in the Leilani Estates subdivision of Puna, located on the volcano's lower east rift zone. Laze can cause irritations of the skin, eyes and lungs, and those suffering from asthma or emphysema may be particularly vulnerable.

In a statement, the authorities said: "People with breathing problems should avoid being outdoors and leave the area if deemed necessary".

"Like typical eruptions and lava flows, it's really allowing Madam Pele to run its course", he said, referring to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire.

The volcanic activity, which has been going on for more than two weeks, has burned around 40 structures, including two dozen homes.

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"It was just a little crack in the ground, with a little lava coming out", he said.

The dangers have forced at least 2,000 people to evacuate and destroyed more than 40 buildings.

At the volcano's summit, another large explosive eruption occurred around midnight, sending up a almost two-mile-high ash plume (10,000 feet), according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

With the problems compounding, scientists can't say whether lava flows from almost two dozen fissures will keep advancing or stop. The ground split open in Leilani Estates, and residents were told to evacuate the area.

A deadly cloud of acid mixed with shards of glass has risen off the south coast of Big Island in Hawaii - the latest hazard posed by a volcanic eruption that began this month.

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