Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Science | By

Risk of explosive eruptions for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano: USGS

Risk of explosive eruptions for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano: USGS

Halema'uma'u doubled in diameter and deepened and did not hold a lava lake again until 2009, says the USGS, adding the 1924 explosions were small potatoes compared to previous events, such as in 1790.

Scientists say an influx of ground water could cause more steam explosions.

The USGS warned that more violent eruptions could shoot "ballistic blocks" weighing up to several tons for a kilometre (0.6 miles), spew pebble-sized rocks several miles and cover dozens of miles with ash.

He said the Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons of pentane on site.

Governor David Ige has asked President Donald Trump to issue a disaster declaration for Hawaii as a result of the ongoing earthquakes and volcano eruption, according to a press release. At least 36 structures - including at least 26 homes - have been destroyed.

Moran: "So we think that there's a pretty good chance the system is repressurizing a little bit, and kind of getting itself ready for the next eruption which could be years, decades down the road".

Gas emitted during steam-drive explosions will be mainly steam, but will include some sulfur dioxide as well.

There are no inhabited areas within half a mile of Kilauea's summit; the primary risk would be to visitors entering the area, which is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


There are 14 lava-and-gas producing fissures in Leilani Estates. He says it would be "very hazardous" if a volcanic vent were to open under the facility where the fuel is stored.

Big Island residents living near Kilauea's eruption also need to be wary of acid rain.

Residents of Lanipuna Gardens in the southeast of Hawaii's Big Island were told to head for the coast as they were in immediate danger from clouds of sulfur dioxide gas and fountains of lava. But some ignored the order and stayed to watch over their property.

Officers found a number of people still at their residences but there were no sign of holdouts later, said Talmadge Magno, administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Hawaii County Civil defense said all 1,900 residents of the Leilani Estates and Laipuna Garden areas have been evacuated. This explosion was not caused by the interaction of the lava lake with the water table.

"I want to remind (the public) that there are no facts about the future, this is our interpretation only", Swanson said.

Fourteen vents have opened since the current lava breakout began.

No deaths or major injuries have been reported since Kilauea, which has been in a state of almost constant eruption since 1983, began a series of major explosions on Thursday, spewing fountains of lava as high as 90 metres into the air and deadly volcanic gas up through cracks in the earth. But he's prepared in case the situation takes a turn. In the first image, the red areas are vegetation, and the black and gray areas are old lava flows. "I walked out onto my deck and I heard this sound, it sounded like whoosh, whoosh", said Northway.

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