Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities

May 4, 2018 by Caleb Jones And Marco Garcia
Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
This photo provided by Hawaii Electric Light shows lava flowing over Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates area near Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii Friday, May 4, 2018. Nearly 1,500 people have fled from their homes after Hawaii's Kilauea volcano sent molten lava chewing through forests and bubbling up on paved streets in an eruption that one resident described as "a curtain of fire." (Hawaii Electric Light via AP)

The Kilauea volcano sent more lava into Hawaii communities Friday, a day after forcing more than 1,500 people to flee from their mountainside homes, and authorities detected high levels of sulfur gas that could threaten the elderly and people with breathing problems.

After a week of earthquakes and warnings, the that began Thursday threw lava into the sky from a crack in a road and sent another line of molten rock snaking through a forest. On Friday, the activity continued, with reports of lava spurting from volcanic vents on two streets. Areas downhill from the vents were at risk of being covered up.

The community of Leilani Estates near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island appeared to be in the greatest danger. Authorities also ordered an evacuation of Lanipuna Gardens, a smaller, more rural subdivision directly to the east. But scientists said new vents could form, and it was impossible to know where.

Civil defense officials cautioned the public about high levels of sulfur dioxide near the volcano and urged vulnerable people to leave immediately. Exposure to the gas can cause irritation or burns, sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes and coughing.

Maija Stenback began to get nervous when she noticed cracks in the streets near her home. On Thursday, she shot video of the lava as it bubbled and splattered across a street about six blocks from her house.

Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
This photo provided by Shane Turpin shows results of the eruption from Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island Friday, May 4, 2018. The eruption sent molten lava through forests and bubbling up from paved streets and forced the evacuation of about 1,500 people who were still out of their homes Friday after Thursday's eruption. (Shane Turpin/seeLava.com via AP)
"You can feel it all the way into the core of your being," she said. "It's just that roaring and unbelievable power of the lava bubbling up and spitting up into the air."

Stenback, her daughter and grandchildren packed as much as they could into their car. The two kids were each allowed to select three toys to take before the family left for a friend's home about a 30-minute drive away.

"I have lived through a lot of here, but never this close before," Stenback said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but at least 100 people were staying in shelters Friday, with many more evacuees believed to be with relatives and friends.

Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
This photo provided by Shane Turpin shows results of the eruption from Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island Friday, May 4, 2018. The eruption sent molten lava through forests and bubbling up from paved streets and forced the evacuation of about 1,500 people who were still out of their homes Friday after Thursday's eruption. (Shane Turpin/seeLava.com via AP)

The Hawaii governor activated the National Guard to help with evacuations and provide security to about 770 structures in Leilani Estates and 130 lots in Lanipuna Gardens left empty when residents sought shelter.

Kilauea has erupted periodically for decades, and scientists said they have no way of predicting how long the eruption will continue.

A key factor will be whether a at the summit starts to drain in response to the eruption, which has not happened yet, said Asta Miklius, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"There is quite a bit of magma in the system. . It won't be just an hours-long eruption probably, but how long it will last will depend on whether the summit magma reservoir gets involved. And so we are watching that very, very closely," Miklius said.

Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
After a mandatory evacuation due to a lava eruption yesterday, Leilani Estates residents line up on the road leading to the area, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Due to unsafe conditions in the area, authorities were not allowing residents back to their homes, Friday. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

County, state and federal officials had been warning residents all week that they should be prepared to evacuate because an eruption would give little warning.

The on Thursday raised the volcano's alert level to warning status, the highest possible, meaning a hazardous eruption was imminent, underway or expected.

Henry Calio said the first sign that something might be wrong happened when cracks emerged in the driveway of his home in Leilani Estates. His wife, Stella, then received a call from an official who told them to get out immediately.

The two feared they might lose their house.

Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
Hawaii Fire Department battalion chief Darwin Okinaka points to a map where recent volcanic eruptions have occurred on Friday, May 4, 2018, at Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii. Civil defense has set up a command center at the entrance to the subdivision, and authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
"This is our retirement dream," Henry Calio said.

Kilauea's Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering the earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers. The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island.

The magma later crossed under Highway 130, which leads to a popular volcano access point. Civil defense authorities closed the area to visitors and ordered private tour companies to stop taking people into the region.

Over the decades, most of Kilauea's activity has been nonexplosive, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton (9-metric ton) rocks into the sky and killed one person.

A 1983 eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet (457 meters) into the sky. Since then, the flow has buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many homes.

Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
In this photo released by U.S. Geological Survey, a plume of ash rises from the Puu Oo crater on Hawaii's Kilaueaa Volcano, Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday, sending lava shooting into the air in a residential neighborhood and prompting mandatory evacuation orders for nearby homes. Hawaii County said steam and lava poured out of a crack in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island. (U.S. Geolgogical Survey via AP)
Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
In this photo released by U.S. Geological Survey, ash plume rises above the Puu Oo crater, on Hawaii's Kilaueaa Volcano Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Nearly 1,500 residents were ordered to evacuate from their volcano-side homes after Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending molten lava to chew its way through forest land and bubble up on paved streets. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)
Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
In this photo released by U.S. Geological Survey, ash plume rises above the Puu Oo vent, on Hawaii's Kilaueaa Volcano Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Nearly 1,500 residents were ordered to evacuate from their volcano-side homes after Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending molten lava to chew its way through forest land and bubble up on paved streets. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)
Hawaii volcano sends more lava, sulfur gas into communities
After being forced out of his home at the Leilani Estates due to a mandatory evacuation, Tim Sullivan, 61, sits in his pickup truck near a local shelter, Friday, May 4, 2018, in Pahoa, HI. The eruption took place about a block from Sullivan's home. He and his wife spent the night at a nearby shelter and does not know when they will be able to return. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

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