Will the Eruptions From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Turn Explosive? Get the Facts

Mick Kalber is about to grab his golf clubs that his dad gave him at his residence when the county allowed residents to go into Leilani Estates to check on their homes. Shortly later an alert ordering immediate evacuation due to poisonous sulfuric dioxide

He says mass evacuation would be beyond county and state capabilities.

But for 1,500 of its 2,500 years as an active volcano, Kilauea has been predominantly in "explosive eruption" phases.

If it occurs, a summit blast might additionally launch steam and sulfur dioxide gasoline. Depending on wind conditions, dustings of ash may occur in the Kīlauea summit area and downwind.

This concern led to the latest warning from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory about the risk of explosions at the summit.

It could hurl boulders the size of a refrigerator several kilometres away from the crater. However, quake activity and ground deformation continue and additional outbreaks in the general area of Leilani Estates are likely.

FIRST, IT WAS oozing lava streaming into residential areas on Hawaii's Big Island. And with new fissures opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious. There are now 15 of the vents spread through the Leilani Estates and neighboring Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods. This was followed by an quake that caused lava to be pushed into new underground areas and led it to break through the ground near a residential area.

Hawaii Governor David Ige said if the pentane stored at the Puna Geothermal Venture plant ignites, the resulting explosion could create a blast radius of up to 1.6 kilometres. Distant communities such as Hilo, about 30 miles away, could get a dusting of ash.

Residents are now allowed to check out their homes during an 11-hour period during the day, but officials say they must be prepared to flee at a moment's notice.

The plant, which is owned by Ormat Technologies of Reno, Nevada, is across a highway from where lava has been erupting.

USPS also advises that all residents who have evacuated in response to the eruption, whether from the officially evacuated neighborhoods or other nearby areas, submit Change of Address forms so that their mail can be redirected to them in a timely manner. And with new fissures are opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious.

After earthquakes and molten lava tore open the earth in Hawaii, residents of the Big Island have new threats to worry about: acid rain and volcanic smog.

Though it is not uncommon for the Kilauea volcano on the southern shore of Hawaii's Big Island to erupt, the recent explosion is the worst encountered in decades. The ASTER data also revealed "hotspots" on Kilauea - fresh lava flows, as well as a dozen newly formed fissures in the volcano. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude quake, forcing the evacuation of almost 1,700 residents. In April, swarms of earthquakes began in the area, and in May the crater began erupting, ejecting gas, ash and boulders up to 14 tons during 50 eruptions over the course of two and a half weeks.

Scientists said Wednesday the risks of an explosive summit eruption will rise in coming weeks as magma drains down the flank of the volcano.

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