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Hawaii Residents Trapped As Volcanic Eruption Intensifies, First Major Injury Reported After “Lava Bomb”

More residents of Hawaii’s Big Island have been told to evacuate as fast moving lava threatens homes and businesses after a new, explosive eruption took place at Kilauea’s summit crater Saturday as well as the emergence of fresh, faster flowing lava throughout the region. Some 22 fissures have opened up in the lower Puna district since the eruptions began over two weeks ago, claiming at least 44 structures in the affluent Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions.

Residents across the Ka’u region have been advised to prepare for “rapid changes in air quality” due to the potential for ashfall or increased levels of sulfur dioxide.

As of Sunday morning, powerful lava flows had crossed a highway and begun flowing into the Pacific ocean – sending “hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air,” according to County officials.

USGS scientists also announced on Saturday that fissures are now merging and connecting to other lava flows in the area. Fissures 16 and 20 have merged together and are producing a very voluminous line of spatter and lava fountaining.

The combined lava flow from fissure 20 advanced 1,000 feet in less than an hour early Saturday morning, and moved toward the coast at a rate of 300 yards per hour.

The eruptions took a particularly dangerous turn on Friday, with at least five separate fissures spitting out fresher, hotter lava from Kilauea’s summit. –Hawaii News Now

With fresher, hotter magma, there’s the potential that the lava flows can move with greater ease and therefore cover more area,” said Janet Babb, USGS geologist, earlier in the day.

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