Hawaii volcano eruption prompts toxic gas alert on Big Island

State officials estimate it will cost more than $2.9 million to protect residents over the next 30 days. "A mass evacuation of the lower Puna District would be beyond current county and state capabilities, and would quickly overwhelm our collective resources", Ige said in a statement announcing his request.

But most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will be closed Friday until further notice, because officials are anxious one of those steam-driven explosions could happen, accompanied by an ash fall.

Just this Wednesday, there was an explosion that sent a huge column of ash above the crater. Now there's increased activity in the summit's Halemaumau crater. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park houses the crater and the surrounding region.

The Auckland Volcanic Field doesn't have an active shield volcano, like Hawaii's Mount Kilauea or Vanuatu's Ambae island volcano, but it does have the same basalt magma. If it proves successful, it can help guide responders and Civil Defense personnel to make the necessary preparations and effectively evacuate areas at risk.

Hawaii Governor David Ige revealed that an emergency task force is removing large amounts of pentane from the Puna Geothermal Venture plant after a new fissure opened up approximately half a mile from the facility on Wednesday. It was eliminated early Thursday.

In little greater than every week, the highest of the lava lake has gone from spilling over the crater to almost 970 toes (295 meters) beneath the floor as of Thursday morning, Mandeville mentioned. The coffee farms on the Kona side of the island, which is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from where lava is erupting.

The plant, which is owned by Ormat Technologies of Reno, Nevada, is across a highway from where lava has been erupting.

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USPS also advises that all residents who have evacuated in response to the eruption, whether from the officially evacuated neighborhoods or other nearby areas, submit Change of Address forms so that their mail can be redirected to them in a timely manner. The fear is that those residents would have no way to get out if another fissure opens up.

Workers are moving flammable fuel from a geothermal plant that's near a Hawaii community where lava has oozed out of cracks in the ground.

Scientists say activity from the most recent lava fissure that opened up has paused but risky fumes continue to be released.

"The top of the plume near the fissure is at approximately 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) altitude, and the height of the plume decreases as it travels south and west", NASA officials wrote yesterday (May 9) in a description of the newly released MISR image. Some two dozen homes have burned.

Sulfur Dioxide, a colorless toxic gas, is usually released as the magma rises to the surface.

"As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue".

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said there's no more explosive gas on that site and added, "Obviously you have to work in a worst-case scenario, if we do have a rupture of the pipes, then we have to develop a solid system of timely evacuation".

  • Sonia Alvarado