The Kilauea volcano has sent oozing lava and noxious gas into neighborhoods for more than two weeks, burning homes, driving out residents and producing explosive eruptions at the summit. Authorities have warned that the most risky place to be exposed to "laze" is near the entry point of the lava into the sea.
Snyder told Reuters that lava spatter "can weigh as much as a refrigerator" and noted that "even small pieces of spatter can kill". It has been gushing lava high into the sky and sending a river of molten rock toward the ocean at about 274 metres per hour. This laze, a combination of hydrochloric acid and glass particles, are being lofted into the air in thick, billowing clouds.
The new lava is hotter, moves faster and has spread over a wider area.
Scientists do not know how long this eruption episode, which began May 3, will last.
EPA The volcano took an even deadlier turn over the weekend when lava hit the sea causing'laze
Civil defence notices cautioned motorists, boaters and beachgoers to beware of the caustic ocean plumes.
The bulletins also warned that reports of toxic sulphur dioxide gas being vented from various points around the volcano had tripled. They urged residents to "take action necessary to limit further exposure".
"Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume", the agency said, warning that potential hazards include lung damage, as well as eye and skin irritation.
It added that the acid produced is around as corrosive as diluted battery acid. Hawaii National Guard has warned of more mandatory evacuations if further highways are blocked. "Lava is pouring out like a fountain. feeding a fast-moving lava stream that's now reached the ocean".
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And there are more concerns as the volcano eruptions continue to intensify.
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The area affected by lava and ash is small compared with the Big Island, which is about 4,000 square miles (10,360 square kilometres).
Hawaii tourism officials have stressed that most of the Big Island remains unaffected by the eruption and is open for business.
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Has the latest volcanic activity put the north of Big Island at risk?
Evacuation orders for two neighbourhoods with almost 2,000 people were given after the first fissure opened on May 3.
The lava flows have destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings, ignited bush fires and displaced thousands of residents who were either ordered evacuated or fled voluntarily. The lava is moving inconsistently and with a frequently shifting rate of flow, according to the agency.
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