Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Update

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Anna Hulstedt, Reporter

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on the big island is causing major issues for citizens living there. However, Kilauea isn’t the type of volcano that erupts once. It’s known as a shield volcano, with several fissures, or openings, that erupt lava without exploding. Fissures tend to be a few meters wide and can be several kilometers long. The lava flows out freely because there is little debris in the way. But when rocks and debris get in the way, pressure increases until there is a massive explosion to clear the way.

The volcano has spewed out lava little by little for the past few years, but it hasn’t been as concerning besides the past few weeks, when it started on May 3. The US Geological Survey has recorded 1,301 earthquakes recently, including a 6.9 magnitude earthquake near Leilani Estates, a residential area. Several homes have been destroyed, and citizens are evacuating if they live near the volcano.

Along with all of the smoke and fumes, laze, a combination of lava and haze, is another concerning factor as volcanic activity continues. Sulfur dioxide levels have more than tripled, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed until further notice.

Although the volcano is life-threatening, nobody has died as a result of the volcano’s eruptions. However, one man was injured when he was hit in the leg by a lava spatter standing on a third floor balcony. This was the first known injury since the eruptions began.

Many scientists and people that have studied volcanoes have noticed that patterns show that the volcano is likely to erupt in a larger way. Highway 132 has been shut down as lava crossed the road this past week. After only 3 days of the volcano first erupted, 26 buildings had already been destroyed.

Weather alerts will continue to be sent out with warning to Hawaii citizens, as people there brace to wait to see what will happen next with Kilauea.