More Fissures From Hawaii Volcano Threaten Residences

Hawaii volcano warning as poisonous gas spews from lava

It was there that officials found the new fissure along the road.

Geologists yesterday warned that Kilauea may be entering a more violent phase of explosive eruptions, the likes of which Hawaii has not seen in almost a century. Lava has destroyed more than 40 structures, including two dozen homes. Lava flows from the volcano, one of five on the island, have buried an area about 125 square kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hawaii's Volcanic National Park is visited by more than 2 million visitors every year and pumps over NZ $3 billion into the local economy.

One of the new fissures to open on Sunday, a groove of lava with smoke pouring out both ends, appeared to be about 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and among the largest of those fracturing the side of Kilauea, a 4,000-foot-high (1,200-meters) volcano with a lake of lava at its summit.

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Kilauea volcano is near-constantly erupting from vents either on its summit (caldera) or on the rift zones.

Lava flowing from giant rips in the earth on the flank of Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano threatened highways on Monday, raising the possibility officials may order thousands more people to evacuate before escape routes are cut off.

Scientists say the number of active fissures spawned by the Kilauea (kih-luh-WAY'-uh) volcano in Hawaii is 17, not 18.

The National Weather Service has warned residents of "light ashfall" throughout the day in the island's southernmost district after a burst of volcanic emissions.

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Cracks along the highway have worsened in the last few days, with authorities fearing even more fissures could form.

Fountains of magma spouted "lava bombs" over 100 feet (30 meters) into the air and a narrow flow had traveled just under a mile (1.6 km) east-southeast by 6.30 a.m. (12.30 p.m. EDT), moving slowly towards the coast some two miles (3.2 km) away, the Observatory said.

The eruption has destroyed homes and forced evacuations.

Residents living near the fissure were told to evacuate, and two nearby community centers were serving as shelters for people and pets.

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Lava spread across hundreds of yards of private land and loud explosions rocked the neighborhood not far from Leilani Estates subdivision, where more than a dozen other active vents have opened in the past week.

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