Photos: More eruptions and lava flows as blue flames burn at Kīlauea Volcano
By Jennifer Fabiano, AccuWeather staff writer
May 29, 2018, 2:10:35 AM EDT
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A third Kīlauea lava flow reached the ocean on Thursday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Fissures 7 and 8 remain the most active. The USGS reported that on Sunday a fast-moving lava flow broke from this area and advanced through the eastern portion of Leilani Estates. Fissure 13 remains the most prominant source for lava entering the ocean.
On Saturday, crews reported "fast and fluid lava flows" from some fissures and "robust activity" from others. Multiple small eruptions of ash occurred on Friday, with one of the largest sending ash as high as 12,000 feet above sea level.
U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Hawaii are now on standby to help with evacuations should a lava flow reach State Highway 130, thus blocking residents of Leilani Estates from reaching schools, stores and hospitals.
Lava fissure 7 was very active on Sunday, reported the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO).
This lava flow crossed into the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) property on Saturday night and covered at least one well Sunday, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency reported.
The well was plugged in anticipation of the lava flow in order to protect against the release of gas that could turn toxic when mixed with lava. Hydrogen sulfide levels are being monitored, but officials stress that the gas has not been detected.
Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions.
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HVO reports that an ash eruption at the Kīlauea summit occurred on Friday at about 4:17 p.m. HST. The eruption caused an ash plume that reached 12,000 feet high, but that cloud quickly disperse. Another eruption sent more ash to 10,000 feet on Friday night.
"Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at anytime," according to HVO.
"How large the eruption is will determine where the ash cloud will head," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
While the dangers of laze and vog have been confined to the southwest of the volcano recently due to the northeasterly trade winds, that may change early this week.
"If winds become southeasterly for a time on Tuesday, there is a chance the vog may reach other parts of the Big Island," Pydynowski said. "Trade winds are expected to increase once again by Tuesday night."
On Wednesday, blue flames appeared near the volcano due to methane that is produced when hot lava buries and burns plants and trees, according to the Associated Press.
HVO warns that eruption activity can change at any moment and asks that residents remain aware and be prepared in order to respond to changing conditions.
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