Hawaii Lava Finally Reaches The Pacific - Only To Create Another Deadly Danger

Mario Tama  Getty Images

Hawaii Lava Flows Create Poisonous ‘Laze’ Cloud After Reaching the Ocean Mario Tama Getty Images 21 May 2018

Authorities in Hawaii have warned people to stay away from unsafe "laze" fumes as molten lava from the Kilauea volcano reaches the Pacific Ocean.

First eruption-related injury: A man sustained serious injuries to his leg after he was hit with lava while sitting on a third-floor balcony.

A stream of lava from one nearby fissure reached the PGV grounds late on Sunday or early Monday but stalled behind a berm built on the boundary of the property to hold back the molten flow, said Hawaii County Civil Defense spokeswoman Janet Synder. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports. Fortunately, on Sunday, a large crack opened near the ocean and swallowed some of the lava into the ground, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

It's unclear just how long the eruption will last.

The new lava is hotter, moves faster and has spread over a wider area.

Lava flows have grown more vigorous in past days, spattering molten rock that hit a man in the leg.

Cathy Santy, a guest services representative at outdoor tour company Hawaii Forest and Trail in in Kailua-Kona, said she and two other colleagues were anxious about the long-term effects of breathing sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and ash even before Kilauea began erupting May 3.

In this image released by the US Geological Survey (USGS), the fissure 20 lava flow reaches the ocean on Hawaii's Big Island on May 20, 2018.

Residents in the area have been evacuated, and the highway that the lava crossed has shut down in places.

The latest spike in activity began on May 3, when lava and toxic sulfuric acid plumes began pouring and spattering out of newly opened fissures along the volcano's East Rift Zone.

Scientists said the acid in the plume was about as corrosive as diluted battery acid. The laze is a mix of hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles that causes health hazards including trouble breathing and irritated eyes and skin.

As lava flows have grown more vigorous, there's concern more homes may burn and more evacuations will be ordered.

Kilauea has burned about 40 structures, including two dozen homes, since the eruption began.

The rate of sulphur dioxide gas emerging from the cracks has tripled after an eruption on May 17th, which the USGS said shot lava 9,144 metres into the air.

"If you get enough lava coming in, it'll start growing itself laterally to form a much more solid and coherent set of lava flow benches [or landforms]", said Bergantz. Tourism officials maintain that most of Big Island is still safe to visit and remains unaffected by the explosion.

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