Toxic acid cloud over Hawaii after lava hits ocean

Toxic acid cloud over Hawaii after lava hits ocean

Under Sunday's conditions, with strong winds and copious amounts of lava hitting the ocean, the laze plumes could extend as far as 24 km, according to USGS geologist Janet Babb.

It's unclear just how long the eruption will last.

People have been told to avoid the cloud that has been created as it can cause breathing and skin problems.

Ash fall has seen more than a quarter inch of ash covering much of the surrounding region, with trade winds blowing the cloud out to other areas of the island.

Laze killed two people when a lava flow reached the coast in 2000, and authorities warned residents to stay clear of it. "Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death".

When the lava hits the ocean, it produces a hazard called "laze", releasing hot steam and hydrochloric acid, which is poisonous and burns on contact. The plume can lead to lung damage and eye and skin irritation.

The rate of sulfur dioxide gas shooting from the ground fissures tripled, bringing additional air quality concerns. Officials warned people to stay away from the area.

These images shared by the US Geological Survey show the entry point for the lava flowing into the ocean.

Smoke depicts the eruption of Hawaii Kilauea volcano
Smoke depicts the eruption of Hawaii Kilauea volcano

According to Australia's News.com, fresh magma from Kilauea's eruption has started to mix with decades-old magma, sending a flow of lava into roads and to the ocean.

May 12, 2018: The US Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater Òhas raised the potential for explosive eruptions at the volcano.

"Like typical eruptions and lava flows, it's really allowing Madam Pele to run its course", he said, referring to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire.

The latest spike in activity began on May 3, when lava and toxic sulfuric acid plumes began pouring and spattering out of newly opened fissures along the volcano's East Rift Zone.

The Civil Defense Agency said Sunday night two lava flows that entered the ocean formed a toxic steam cloud caused by a chemical reaction when the lava touches seawater.

The USGS said the latest lava effusion near Leilani Estates is a "major eruption".

The saga of a Hawaii volcano's impact on rural communities is heading into its third week. At least 23 fissures from the volcano have opened so far and 40 homes buildings have been burned by the lava.

Yet, with more than 2,000 residents under evacuation, life largely goes on as normal on much of the Big Island. Sections of road in the vicinity of the lava flows and the local MacKenzie State Park have now been closed as a precaution.

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