Thousands of people who were evacuated after Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano continued to erupt are preparing for the possibility they may not return home for some time.The number of houses destroyed by lava shooting from openings in the ground created by the eruption has increased to five, while hundreds of small earthquakes have continued to rumble.Scientists forecast further eruptions and earthquakes, perhaps for months to come, after Big Island was rocked by a 6.9-magnitude tremor on Friday, the strongest the island has seen since 1975.
A 2,000 foot long fissure erupts within the Leilani Estates subdivision, on the east rift zone of the Kilauea volcano, igniting a home, and creating a black plume of smoke (EPA/BRUCE OMORI / PARADISE HELICOPTERS) Authorities also said sulphuric gas pouring out of the vents posed further dangers, particularly to elderly and people with respiratory problems.
The Hawaii Fire Department also warned of ”extremely dangerous air quality conditions due to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas in the evacuation area.” The gas can cause skin irritations and breathing difficulties.
No injuries or deaths were reported after Kulauea started spewing lava following a series of earthquakes, but the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide emergency help.
“The past few weeks have been exciting for volcano watchers on the Island of Hawaii, especially for visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum overlook, where views of the active summit lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu have been spectacular” the USGS said.“Since April 21, high lava lake levels in the informally named “Overlook crater” within Halemaʻumaʻu at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano have produced multiple overflows of pāhoehoe lava onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu.
As of April 26, these new flows have covered just under 90 acres or nearly three-fourths of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater floor.