For the past few weeks, one of the biggest weather and science stories in the world has been the continued slow eruption of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. In this time period, the Kilauea volcano has continued to erupt and slowly spew hot molten lava out of it. This has forced many people to abandon their homes and find new shelter as the unpredictability of the volcano continues to provide a variety of threats.
While the volcano has already been destructive and threatening, there is now a new threat the people in the area need to be concerned with (https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/21/612969472/hawaii-volcanos-lava-spews-laze-of-toxic-gas-and-glass-into-the-air). For the past few days, the lava from the volcano has finally reached the Pacific Ocean. While this has been a great natural place for the lava to stop, it has also caused some additional issues. According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency there are a variety of different risks associated with the lava hitting the cooler ocean water.
One of the biggest concerns is that the lava is now creating a “laze”, which is commonly described as a hydraulic acid that is filled with steam and fine parts of glass. This is now creating a plume that makes it dangerous to be around the volcano as this can cause lung damage, eye injuries, and irritation of the skin. At this point several different government agencies have put rules in place that will control the people that can enter the area. The US Coast Guard is currently making it illegal for private citizens to access the area. Only those that are on official guided tours are able to visit the region.
While the lava flow has been somewhat controlled over the past week, there continues to be the growing threat of a larger eruption. The volcano now has more than 20 different fissure vents that are currently leaking gas and lava and it can be next to impossible to determine where the next one will be and how significant of an issue it could create.
One of the largest events took place last Saturday when a crater was opened and ash was shot up into the air more than 10,000 feet high. People all over the Big Island heard the explosion and it even created a small earthquake. Due to the concerns, all people that are in the immediate area have been evacuated and many more could soon join them.