Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Hawaii Lava Flow Threatens Homes And Causes Explosions

On Hawaii's Big Island, an active lava flow which has gained speed as it creeps closer to homes has lead authorities to order evacuations. Emergency teams are doing sweeps of areas under risk, citizens with respiratory health challenges have been adviced to stay indoors due to the fumes and smoke being released by the molten rock.

The molten rock (lava) is moving at speeds of about 7-10 feet per hour and is, at the time this article was written, about 70 feet away from the closest homes. After the flow threatened to cut of access to parts of the town when it crept towards the major road, health official were forced to set up a second emergency response location.

The Kilauea volcano, which is responsible for the lava flow, has been erupting continuously since 1983. While this lava flow began sometime in June, it has over time crept towards the town of Pahoa. A geologist and spokeswoman for the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said there were a number of methane explosions. Methane gas is produced when vegetation decomposes and can collect in small subsurface pockets. These pockets are then heated by the lava flow, causing the explosions.

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