Hawaii Governor Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration For Volcano

A fairly large explosion in Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano on Wednesday is likely the first of a series of larger explosions that could begin to throw rocks from and ash from the crater, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

A brief explosion Wednesday on a Kilauea crater was the result of falling rocks and not the interaction of lava with the water table, the USGS said.

The agency the volcano may eject blocks up to two yards (meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (kilometer) away. It may also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles away, the USGS said. In addition, there's the potential for steam and hazardous sulfur dioxide emissions.

Lava seen from a new fissure caused by the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. Lanipuna Gardens residents are still barred from entering the area due to the high level of unsafe volcanic gases.

The residents of the Leilani Estates subdivision, which were put under a mandatory evacuation on Thursday, are allowed to enter their homes between 7 a.m.to 6 p.m. each day to check their property and retrieve important belongings until further notice, according to the latest update. But some ignored the order and stayed to watch over their property.

But the new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue a cellphone alert ordering stragglers in the Lanipuna Gardens area to get out immediately. Police followed up with personal visits.

Cherie McArthur wondered what would become of her macadamia nut farm in Lanipuna Gardens, another evacuated neighbourhood near Leilani Estates.

Following the eruption on May 1, 1,700 residents were asked to evacuate.

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"I was going to raise my daughters here, but it doesn't look like it was going to turn out to be the scenario we hoped", Kealoha said. "It's devastating, but I've come to terms with it".

Kilauea, the USA state's most active volcano, erupted on Thursday, and lava flows from fissures on its eastern flank have destroyed at least 36 homes and other buildings and caused the evacuation of about 2,000 residents. Instead of lava breaking through the outside wall of the Pu'u 'O'o cone, as it did twice before in recent years, the crater floor abruptly collapsed on April 30.

"It indicates that it's a fairly common process and since they've been keeping track of these kind of eruptions, basically they've been keeping track over the last 250 years, you're getting eruptions on the Big Island about every four years", he explained. I'm not a dumb-dumb.

"I need to figure that out", she said with tears in her eyes.

The Reuters news agency reports that exposure to very high levels of the gas, which causes acid rain, can be life-threatening, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said county, state and federal partners would continue to monitor the situation and inform the public should further safety concerns arise.

Gordon Ito, who has been the state's insurance commissioner since 2010 and is chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Western zone, said roughly 25 single family homes as well as other structurers have been destroyed by the lava flow. Aerial surveys have not determined whether the rest of the structures are homes or other types of buildings.

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