Hawaii bracing for major volcano eruption as alert level heightened

Before-and-After Satellite Images Show Damage Caused By Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

The latest fissure in the earth opened on Tuesday, spewing lava and toxic gases that pushed air quality into "condition red" around Lanipuna Gardens and nearby farms, causing "choking and inability to breathe", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaii County Civil Defense said.

The USA Geological Survey elevated the alert warning to purple, which means {that a} main explosion is "imminent, underway or suspected with hazardous circumstances each on the bottom and within the air".

Meanwhile, at the summit, ash emission from the Overlook crater within Halemaʻumaʻu has increased this morning compared to previous days. The fissures, ground deformation and abundant volcanic gases indicate eruptions on the eastern flank of Kilauea are likely to continue.

A flow from fissure 17 that opened up after the volcano in Hawaii.

"There's a lot of worst-case scenarios and roads getting blocked is one of them", said Hickman, standing on Highway 137, in the potential path of the lava flow, some two miles (3 km) away.

Scientists had expected such explosions by the middle of this month as Kilauea's lava lake fell below the water table. The ash cloud is drifting generally west and southwest from the Kilauea summit and ashfall is occurring in the Kaʻu Desert.

"We're observing more or less continuous emission of ash now with intermittent, more energetic ash bursts or plumes", said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Deputy Scientist-In-Charge Steve Brantley on a conference call with reporters.

This is what the volcano looked like this week, with a steady push of smoke and ash into the sky.

Resident Stacy Welch inspects lava next to a destroyed home located 250-feet from her home, which remains standing, in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 7, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii.

Radar and pilot stories point out the highest of the ash cloud is as excessive as 12,000ft above sea stage.

Almost 2,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and are now waiting to hear when they can return home.

Resident Ikaika Marzo told Hawaii News Now that he saw "fountains" of lava as high as 125 feet (38m).

Lava has surged into residential areas, decimating dozens of structures.

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