Explosion at Hawaii volcano spews ash as lava flows into sea

Friday, 15 Jun, 2018

Scientists say the blasts happened Monday, including one after a magnitude-5.4 natural disaster.

Officials on Hawaii's Big Island are letting some people back into their homes and scaling down emergency operations as lava flows into the ocean on a path that isn't threatening new areas.

Lava continued to fountain out of Fissure 8, reaching heights of about 200 feet, while Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass accumulated on the ground within Leilani Estates area.

"This is the hottest lava we've seen during this eruption", Wendy Stovall, a scientist with USGS, on Hawaii News Now said.

Also Saturday, there was an explosive eruption of rock and ash at Kilauea's summit at 4:50 a.m. that produced a plume expected to possibly blow to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala and Ocean View.

Fissure 8 continued to feed a vigorous channelized lava flow to the east of the vent on Saturday morning. He told reporters on Monday that temblors are almost continuous at the summit and that gas emissions remain "very high".

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"Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates "laze", a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs".

About half of those homes were destroyed in the past few days.

The eruption has also had a toll on the area's tourism industry, with many afraid to travel to the island.

A spokesperson for Hawaii County Civil Defence said: "What used to be the bay is now all lava bed, new land, nearly a mile out into the ocean".

Thousands of residents have fled their homes and at least 600 homes have been destroyed.