'World of uncertainty': Hawaii lava reaches sea, injures man

2018-05-20 21:03
An ash plume rising following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. (Handout, US Geological Survey, AFP)

An ash plume rising following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. (Handout, US Geological Survey, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pahoa — A volcano that is oozing, spewing and exploding on Hawaii's Big Island has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with a river of molten rock flowing into the ocean and flying lava causing the first major injury.

Kilauea volcano began erupting more than two weeks ago and has burned dozens of homes, forced people to flee and shot up plumes of steam from its summit that led officials to distribute face masks to protect against ash particles.

Lava flows have grown more vigorous in past days, spattering molten rock that hit a man in the leg.

He was outside his home Saturday in the remote, rural region affected by the volcano when the lava "hit him on the shin, and shattered everything from there down on his leg," Janet Snyder, Hawaii County mayor's spokeswoman, told the Hawaii News Now TV station.

Lava that's flying through the air from cracks in the Earth can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces can be lethal, officials said.

The injury came the same day lava streamed across a highway and flowed into the ocean. The phenomenon sends hydrochloric acid and steam with glass particles into the air and can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, another danger for residents as the plume can shift with the wind, the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency said.

The highway has shut down in some spots, and residents in the area have been evacuated.

With the problems compounding, scientists can't say whether lava flows from nearly two dozen fissures will keep advancing or stop.

"We have no way of knowing whether this is really the beginning or toward the end of this eruption," said Tom Shea, a volcanologist at the University of Hawaii. "We're kind of all right now in this world of uncertainty."

The area affected by lava and ash is small compared with the Big Island, which is about 10 360 square kilometers. The volcano has spared most of the island and the rest of the Hawaiian chain.

Officials have reminded tourists that flights, including on the Big Island, have not been affected. Even on the Big Island, most tourist activities are available and businesses are open.

Evacuation orders for two neighborhoods with nearly 2 000 people were given after the first fissure opened on May 3. Officials have been warning neighboring communities to be prepared to evacuate.

Lava flows have sped up as fresher magma mixes with decades-old magma, creating hotter and more fluid flows, scientists said. Two fissures had merged by Saturday, creating a wide flow moving at up to 274 metres per hour.

Edwin Montoya, who lives with his daughter on her farm near where lava crossed a roadway and trapped a handful of people on Friday, said the fissure opened and grew quickly.

"It was just a little crack in the ground, with a little lava coming out," he said. "Now it's a big crater that opened up where the small little crack in the ground was."


Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

SQL Reporter

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.