Hawaii goes on RED ALERT for ‘major eruption’ of Kilauea volcano as huge ash plume billows 12,000 FEET into the sky with the USGS warning of an ‘explosive and imminent’ event sparking preparations for mass evacuations

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

A major eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is imminent, the US Geographical Survey have said.
The volcano has been erupting for 10 days and nearly 20 lava spewing fissures have opened up
Smoke plumes reached 12,000 feet into the air on Tuesday, and lava reached 103 F last week
Before and after satellite images have captured the devastation caused by Hawaii’s erupting Kilauea volcano
Before and after satellite images show just how destructive the lava flow has been on Leilani Estates
The neighborhood on Big Island was evacuated last month given its proximity to the epicenter of the volcano
Dozens of homes have been destroyed since eruptions began 10 days ago, about 2000 have evacuated
Residents put out bottles of alcohol on Tuesday as offerings to the Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire

15 May 2018

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano could have a major devastating eruption at ‘any time’, the US Geographical Survey has said.

The volcano has been erupting for 10 days, and more than 2000 residents have already been evacuated.

‘At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,’ the USGS said on Tuesday afternoon.

The USGS also raised the volcano alert level at Hawaii’s Kilauea to red – the highest level – which indicates a ‘major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air.’

A recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano’s Halemaumau crater ‘has raised the potential for explosive eruptions’ at the volcano, the organisation said.

Plumes of smoke are reaching up to 12,000 feet into the sky and ash is raining on to nearby towns. On Wednesday, The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded a lava temperature of 217 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some of the vents in the volcano are now reportedly releasing such high levels of sulfur dioxide that it’s posing a grave danger to anyone nearby.

A spokesman from the National Guard told AP on Tuesday morning nearly 20 fissures had opened on the volcano and lava was spewing towards a major highway.

‘[The lava is] two miles from Highway 137 and it’s travelling at 100 yards per hour in a narrow flow,’ he said.

Fountains of magma spouted ‘lava bombs’ more than 100 feet into the air as the molten rock traveled east-southeast towards the coastal road, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

Earlier, the USGS expressed concern pent-up steam could cause a violent explosive eruption at the volcano crater, launching a 20,000-foot plume that could spread debris over 12 miles.

Scientists had expected such explosions by the middle of this month as Kilauea’s lava lake fell below the water table. The possibility exists, however, that water may not be entering the crater, as feared, and gas and steam may be safely venting, scientists said.

‘So far those explosions have not occurred and I think the key here is that the vent system is an open one, therefore pressure is not being built or developed down at the top of the lava column,’ Brantley told a conference call.

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