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New fears of explosive eruptions and ballistic projectiles at Kilauea volcano

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Seven days have passed since the Kilauea eruption and the volcano continues to intermittently spew molten lava and toxic gas. Several fissures have opened have spawned across the Hawaiian island and separate cracks within the fissures are spewing intense heat as well as vog, a toxic volcanic gas.

A recent crack along Nohea Street in Leilani Estates measured was measured at 218 degrees. The asphalt was described as "mushy" from the heat emanating from the crack.


(Courtesy USGS)


(Courtesy USGS)

Ballistic Explosions:

The USGS announced Wednesday concerns for additional eruptions over the next few weeks. A "lava lake" in the overlook crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano continues to lower with time. If this lava hits the water level beneath, the interaction of lava and water would cause steam-driven ballistic explosions. Ballistic explosions can send debris up to 6 feet in length in all directions up to a distance of 0.6 miles. The debris can weigh anywhere from a few pounds to several tons. Ash fall is also a major concern, should the explosions occur. Volcanic ash is made up of tiny pieces of rock and natural glass blasted into the air by a volcanic eruption. Volcanic ash can cause structural collapse from its weight, electrical failure for things like transformers because it conducts electricity, and lung damage from being inhaled.


(Courtesy USGS)


(Courtesy USGS)

Toxic Gas:

Toxic gas is already leaking from the numerous cracks and fissures across the island, and any explosion over the next few weeks would only make that worse. The gas is known as "vog". Vog is a gas comprised of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. The sulfur dioxide is the irritating and poisonous gas in that mix and inhaling it can cause coughing, lung damage, and burning eyes.

You can follow all of the updates on the Kilauea volcano with the USGS, by clicking here.

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