12:51 GMT +322 June 2018
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    Hawaii Volcano Eruption

    USGS: Potential for Explosive Volcanic Eruption Rises on Hawaii's Big Island

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    HONOLULU (Sputnik) - The potential for an explosive eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has increased due to declining lava lake levels at one of its craters, the US Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement.

    "The steady lowering of the lava lake in ‘Overlook crater’ within Halemaumau at the summit of Kilauea Volcano has raised the potential for explosive eruptions in the coming weeks," the organization said on Wednesday. "If the lava column drops to the level of groundwater beneath Kilauea Caldera, influx of water into the conduit could cause steam-driven explosions."

    The scientists added that during steam-driven explosions, ballistic blocks up to two meters across "could be thrown in all directions" to a distance of one kilometer or more. "The blocks could weigh a few kilograms to several tons," the USGS said.

    Residents in the potential danger zone have been advised to learn about the hazards of ashfall and stay informed of the status of the volcano as steam-driven explosions at volcanoes typically provide very little warning.

    According to the USGS, the lava lake surface has dropped by more than 200 meters between May 2 and May 6. Kilauea, one of the most active volcanos in the world, started its latest eruption on May 3. Since then, a total of 14 fissures have emerged, Hawaii County Civil Defense said on Wednesday. The lava from those vents has so far destroyed 36 structures, most of them homes, and covered 104 acres.

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    Tags:
    evacuation, hazard, warning, eruption, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, US Geological Survey (USGS), Hawaii, United States
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