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Plumes Of Acid, Shards Of Fine Glass Now Airborne In Hawaii

Plumes Of Acid, Shards Of Fine Glass Now Airborne In Hawaii

Lava from the erupting Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island flowed towards a geothermal power plant on Monday as workers scrambled to shut it down to prevent the uncontrollable release of toxic gases. As the lava combines with ocean water, it forms a steam cloud laced with hydrochloric acid and fine particles of glass.

"If one were to be near the laze, because of the various acids, it would be corrosive to the eyes, the nose and respiratory tract, and the skin", Dr Alvin Bronstein from the Hawaii State Department of Health told journalists on a conference call.

US Geological Survey (USGS) has confirmed that two lava flows reached the ocean along the southeast Puna coast on May 20. Where the plume wafts depends heavily on wind direction and speed.

The HVO also reported sulfur dioxide emissions have tripled.

Kilauea has displaced some 2,000 people and destroyed more than 40 structures since the beginning of the eruption.

A homeowner who was on a third-floor balcony had his leg shattered from his shin to his foot when he was hit by lava spatter, a spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii, told Reuters.

The caustic plume, which can be fatal if inhaled, was the latest danger in an eruption that shows no signs of stopping, since it started on May 3.

Officials say the wind carried the ash plume to the southwest, toward Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Waiohinu.

Lava, acid rain, vog, sulfur dioxide and now 'laze:' New deadly threat emerges from Hawaii volcano
Hawaii Kilauea Volcano: Beware of New Threat From Toxic 'Lava Haze,' Authorities Warn

The area affected by lava and ash is small compared with the Big Island, which is about 4,000 square miles (10,360 square kilometers).

Civil defense notices cautioned motorists, boaters and beachgoers to beware of caustic plumes of "laze" formed from two streams of hot lava pouring into the sea after cutting across Highway 137 on the south coast of Hawaii's Big Island late on Saturday and early Sunday.

She said the leading edge of the lava flow had stopped about 300 yards (meters) from the nearest well pad at the plant, as plant workers were in the final stages of capping two wells.

A "lava bomb", a plate-sized chunk of lava that flew horizontally out of a fissure, seriously injured one man on Saturday. Having cooled with age, the lava emerged viscous and sticky-more sluggish than fresh, fast-flowing lava.

The occurrence of new lava-spewing vents, now numbering at least 22, have been accompanied by flurries of earthquakes and periodic eruptions of ash, volcanic rock and toxic gases from the volcano's summit crater.

"I think we're moving into phase two and that's where we're going to see increased activity, potentially higher fountains, more lava flows".

Hawaii tourism officials have stressed that most of the Big Island remains unaffected by the eruption and is open for business.

Scientists say they don't know how long the eruption will last.





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