Hawaii volcano eruption could blast fridge-sized boulders, ash into the air

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Hawaii residents were alerted on Thursday to rising levels of toxic gas from volcanic fissures and geologists warned that new areas east of the erupting Kilauea volcano may be at risk to lava bursting from the ground.

Yesterday evening, the lava coverage was reported to have increased from 116.57 acres to 117.38 acres.

Volcanic gases mixed with smoke from fires caused by lava rise from the vicinity of the Leilani Estates neighborhood on Hawaii's Big Island on May 10, 2018.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said a geothermal energy plant near the lava outbreak was accelerating its removal of stored flammable gas as a precaution.

The Puna Geothermal Venture plant had about 50,000 gallons (189,270 liters) of pentane.

He says it would be "very hazardous" if a volcanic vent were to open under the facility where the fuel is stored.

Now, the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory is warning that the crater at the summit of Kilauea has been undergoing changes and could begin spewing ash, gas and rocks weighing several tons over the next few weeks. Distant communities such as Hilo, about 30 miles away, could get a dusting of ash.

This could happen again, scientists say, once the summit lava lake drops so low that groundwater can flow into the channel that feeds magma to the crater.

But a large crater called Halema'uma'u sits near the center of Kilauea, and it's filled with a lake of bright red and yellow lava.

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Meantime, if rock and other sediment have fallen inward, blocking the steam that's being created, intense pressure builds up.

He would not estimate the likelihood of such an explosion, but said internal volcanic conditions are changing in a way that could lead to a blast in about a week.

Even if Kilauea does transition fully to an explosive phase, there will be one key difference from the 1924 eruption.

"We know the volcano is capable of doing this".

Officials stress residents of the Kilauea summit area should learn about the hazards of ashfall, stay informed about the status of the volcano and area closures, and review family and business emergency plans. As Maddie Stone at Eartherreports, the summit crater is fed by a larger chamber of magma beneath the volcano via a narrow passageway. "We see what is happening now, and we know a bit about what happened the last time.so we can give warnings about what might happen next, but not with certainty". "It's one of the best ways we can "see" what's going on". "Life and safety is what's most important".

Authorities ordered two subdivisions in the area to evacuate last week.

Commenting on the so-called ballistic projectiles, Tina Neal, the scientist in charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told Reuters: "This is the first of perhaps more events like that to come". They evacuated their house Might 3, and exclusively came upon it was destroyed when a relative went again to get her private belongings.

The resident and his friend took the suspected intruder to the police checkpoint at the Highway 130 and Leilani Avenue intersection, where police arrested the man without incident.

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