New hazards in Hawaii as Kilauea Volcano spews column of lava

Posted at 10:42 AM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 12:42:24-04

Officials say new lava flow has reached the Pacific Ocean creating a new, toxic gas known as "laze". This laze, a combination of hydrochloric acid and glass particles, are being lofted into the air in thick, billowing clouds. Laze can cause irritation and breathing difficulties when inhaled.

The USGS describes laze as a hot and corrosive gas mixture. When molten lava hits sea water it can create noxious and hazy conditions. On top of the laze, sulfur dioxide emissions have tripped due to the increased eruptions and fissure leaks.

Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency warned residents of the island to "Stay away from any ocean plume. The plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning."

The first major injury was reported Sunday when a ballistic projectile hit a man in the leg, shattering his shin. Lava splatters can weigh several hundred pounds.

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