Kilauea volcano could launch 10-ton ballistic boulders in dramatic explosion

At KÄ«lauea when the lava column drops below the water table groundwater may come into contact with with magma or hot rocks causing violent steam explosions

The Leilani Estates community remains in greatest danger, with 15 volcanic fissures so far having destroyed 36 structures, majority homes, and forcing the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.

Barbara Lozano, who lives inside a mile of the plant, mentioned she would have thought twice about shopping for her property if she had recognized the dangers. The crater and surrounding region are a part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which planned to close at 10 p.m. Thursday.

The fear is that it will go below the underground water table - another 1,000 feet further down - and that would trigger a chain of events that could lead to a "very violent" steam explosion, Mandeville said. "We all know it's a distinct risk".

"If you're within several miles of the summit of the volcano, of the lava lake, then you would be subject to falls of marble sized rocks, ash, finer grain material. and if you're beyond that say you're 10 miles, 15, 20 downwind, you could experience fine ash floating from the sky like snow, ' he added".

"Kilauea is a safe volcano to study, which is why many volcanologists consider that a flawless laboratory for viewing first-hand active volcanic processes", said Nair.

Nobody lives within the quick space of the summit. In the meantime, she said, FEMA teams on the Big Island and Oahu are working closely with state and county officials to assess the situation. As the lava lake in the crater of volcano recedes there's a potential for the lava to come in contact with the groundwater and the resulting steam could cause a powerful explosion.

The USGS reports that similar explosions are likely to happen again, especially after magma migrates into the rift zones on the volcano's flanks, which seems to be occurring now.

"It's like a leaky pipe or a burst pipe, where the magma is moving down the conduit system and it just reaches a point where the pressure builds enough that you start cracking the surface above", volcanologist Erik Klemetti from Denison University told NPR.

"Because of the unexpected darkness during daylight hours ... and the sometimes strong smell of sulfur during an ashfall, many people describe the experience as eerie and frightening, disorienting and confusing, or terrible", the USGS says.

"The recent scenarios have been developed using all the current techniques, data and knowledge of the field.to get the best idea of how a volcanic eruption in Auckland might impact on our society", Dr Lindsay says.

On the present fee of change, that's about six or seven days away.

Once the lava drops, rocks that had been superheated could fall into the lava tube. When the water hits the lava, it also steams.

The last time that happened was in 1924.

Rocks thrown up by a steam explosion are a big hazard.

The small, aptly named town of Volcano, Hawaii, population 2,500, is about 3 miles from the summit.

"There've been both electricity outages and water outages in Hawaii and in Auckland we have a lot of buried infrastructure so how far the heat travels into the ground is of interest".

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