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Friday, May 18, 2018

Violent eruption at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii

Por Rory

The Kilauea volcano, the most active in Hawaii, has recorded on Thursday a new explosive eruption that has shed ash over 9,100 meters above Big Island. The powerful explosions can launch "ballistic blocks" the size of small cars at a distance of more than a kilometer and throw missiles the size of pebbles up to 19 kilometers, as warned by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The authorities have advised residents to take refuge to avoid contact with material issued by Kilauea.

This Wednesday, the volcano released large pyroclasts in what could be the beginning of a new wave of volcanic eruptions, according to the USGS. The USGS forecasts stronger explosions driven by steam in the coming days. The latter, according to the agency, could produce a cloud of ash up to 6,100 meters above the crater and throw rocks between 10 and 12 tons up to 800 meters away. "This morning, dense ballistic blocks of up to 60 centimeters wide were found a few hundred meters from Halemaumau (the Kilauea crater)," the USGS said in a statement on Wednesday. "These reflect the most energetic explosions observed so far and may reflect the start of explosive activity driven by steam," it added.

The US Geological Survey raised the level of eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, where some 185,000 people live, to a red alert. Nearly 2,000 residents have already been evacuated from their homes in the Leilani Estates area of 1,700 inhabitants, and of Lanipuna Gardens. A red alert level means that "a large volcanic eruption is imminent, happening or presumed". A strong earthquake of magnitude 5 on Thursday, May 3 and another of 6.9 on Friday, May 4, triggered the eruption of Kilauea, which is located in the southeast of the island. Since then, dozens of earthquakes have been registered in the area, some of them greater than magnitude five. The lava has spread through urbanizations and farmland and threatens several roads that are exit routes for coastal areas.

This Wednesday, an earthquake of magnitude 4.2 degrees also shook the region. The authorities warned that there was no risk of a tsunami due to volcanic activity to reassure the residents of Big Island. More eruptions of this type could cover Hawaii with much thicker than current ash and spread dust and volcanic smoke to the Hawaiian Islands. Although several fissures released pyroclastics into the air, the lava flows advanced "little" this Wednesday, some 90 meters toward the coastal highway, as reported by the Civil Defense of the County of Hawaii in a statement. The USGS has recommended that island residents stay informed and heed the warnings of the Hawaiian County Civil Defense. Kilauea, one of the five volcanoes of Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, has been active since 1983 but is the only one that is now erupting. In another eruption in 1924 it left a dead person and was throwing stones, ash and dust in the air for 17 days.