Published On: Mon, May 14th, 2018

Hawaii volcano eruption: Tourists banned as expert says eruption could last YEARS | World | News


And the threat of an eruption could last years, according to some experts, with tourists now being sent packing to save water.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned the Halema’uma’u Crater could blow due to the withdrawal of lava at Kilauea’s summit lake.

The activity at Kilauea’s summit lake, which is a much larger caldera crater than Halema’uma’u, could generate dangerous debris and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind, prompting an eruption.

The observatory also revealed a 17th volcanic fissure – a giant crack in the Earth’s surface – had appeared on private property near Halekamahina Loop Road last night. 

In a statement, the Civil Defence warned residents: “The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has cautioned about the possibility of an explosive eruption at Halema’uma’u Crater due to the withdrawal of lava from Kilauea summit lake.

“This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind.”

Due to this volcanic activity, residents of lower Puna were told by the Civil Defence that “there may be little to no advance notice to evacuate, so take this time to prepare.”

Hawaii Civil Defence also told residents to be on alert for gas emissions and lava spatter. 

Asking tourists and locals for “help and understanding”, the governmental body added: “No one is allowed to go off-road, sightseeing.

“Stay out of the area.

“Allow the residents to care for their business.

“The residents of Puna are going through a very difficult time.”

Holiday rentals in the area are set to cease operations in the immediate future to “relieve the demand for water and reduce the area population” to allow emergency operations to be focused only on residents. 

The eruption has destroyed 37 buildings including tens of houses and lava has covered the equivalent of more than 75 football pitches.

Scientists are tracking earthquakes, lava and the composition of gas coming out of the cracks in the ground to try to predict the volcano’s next move, but experts are unable to tell when the violent eruption will come to an end.

Bill Chadwick, a volcanologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said: “We can’t really peer through the ground and see it exactly in all its details and intricacies.

“It could last days, weeks, years. 

“All that’s possible. It’s hard to say, unfortunately.”

The unpredictability makes it difficult for residents to determine when they will be allowed home.

Denison University volcanologist Erik Klemetti said: ”When a house today might look like it’s perfectly safe, it might get taken out by a lava flow five years from now if the eruption keeps on going.”

Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii have spent more than £295,000 ($400,000) in emergency protective measures for the lava flow and earthquakes in the Kilauea East Rift Zone since May 3.  



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