Indonesia warns of further eruptions after volcano spews ash

A volcanic ash cloud from Mount Sinabung hovers over Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia June 9, 2019, in this still image taken from a social media video. Sinarisa Sitepu via REUTERS

KARO, Indonesia (Reuters) – Indonesian officials warned on Monday against the prospect of further eruptions from an active volcano on the island of Sumatra after it emitted a huge column of ash, causing panic among residents.

Mount Sinabung, which has seen a spike in activity since 2010, erupted for around nine minutes on Sunday, sending clouds of volcanic ash 7 km (4.4 miles) into the sky.

Although no casualties were reported, officials monitoring the volcano warned of possible fresh eruptions.

“After the eruption, from midnight until 6 a.m., there were a few aftershocks,” said Willy, a scientist at a Sinabung observatory post, who uses one name, like many Indonesians.

Authorities left unchanged the alert level for Sinabung, but urged residents to use face masks and keep indoors to guard against volcanic ashfall.

Mount Sinabung, which is 2,460 m (8,071 ft) high, is among Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, but had been inactive for four centuries before its 2010 eruption. Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

(Reporting by Yudhistira; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Guatemala ends victim searches at volcano where 110 died

Eva Ascon, is embraced by a family member as rescue workers search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala on Sunday ended its victim search efforts in the zone that suffered most deaths and injuries from the Fuego volcano eruption, its disaster agency said.

At least 110 people died and 197 are still missing after violent eruptions that began two weeks ago, according to disaster agency CONRED.

Eva Ascon, looks on next to rescue workers as they search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Eva Ascon, looks on next to rescue workers as they search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

“The search efforts are permanently suspended in the towns San Miguel Los Lotes and El Rodeo in the Escuintla municipality… the zone is uninhabitable and high risk,” CONRED said in a statement on Sunday.

The Fuego volcano, whose name means “Fire” in Spanish, is emitting four or five minor explosions daily and shooting columns of ash up to 15,420 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level, CONRED said.

Escuintla is operating 12 shelters for nearly 2,800 people displaced from homes that were swallowed by ash and dirt, while more than 770 people are staying in shelters in nearby areas.

Some survivors lost nearly all members of extended families after the volcano sent fast-moving currents of dust, lava and gas down its slopes in its greatest eruption in four decades.

(Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Diane Craft)

Property losses mount on Hawaii’s Big Island as lava flow spreads

Lava flows into the Pacific Ocean in the Kapoho area, east of Pahoa, during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

By Terray Sylvester

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) – A river of lava spewing from the foot of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano swallowed about three dozen more homes on the Big Island during a weekend of destruction that brought to nearly 120 the number of dwellings devoured since last month, officials said on Monday.

Mounting property losses were reported a day after five or six people who initially chose to stay in the newly evacuated Kapoho area after road access was cut off were rescued by helicopter, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency.

All but a few of the estimated 500 inhabitants of Kapoho and adjacent Vacationland development are now believed to have fled their homes, an agency spokesman said. The area lies near the site of a seaside village buried in lava from a 1960 eruption.

The latest damage came from a large lava flow that crept several miles (km) before severing a key highway junction at Kapoho on Saturday and then obliterating about a half dozen blocks of the subdivision over the weekend, the spokesman said.

Lava flows into the Pacific Ocean in the Kapoho area, east of Pahoa, during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

Lava flows into the Pacific Ocean in the Kapoho area, east of Pahoa, during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

One finger of the lava poured into a small freshwater lake, boiling away all its water late on Saturday, while another finger spilled into Kapoho Bay on Sunday night, officials said.

On Monday, civil defense reported a total of 117 homes and other structures destroyed across the island’s larger lava-stricken region, as the eruption from Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, continued through its 33rd day.

About three dozen of those structures, mostly private homes and vacation rentals, were lost during the weekend in Kapoho. The rest were consumed weeks earlier in the larger Leilani Estates subdivision several miles (km) to the west, where lava-spouting fissures in the ground first opened on May 3.

About 2,000 residents have been displaced from Leilani since earlier this month as fountains of lava and high concentrations of toxic sulfur dioxide gas continued unabated. A mandatory evacuation of much the subdivision was imposed last week.

Plumes of volcanic ash belched into the air by periodic daily explosions from the crater at Kilauea’s summit have posed an additional nuisance and a health concern to nearby communities.

So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called “Pele’s hair,” wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcano goddess of Hawaiian myth.

Seaside residents and boaters also have been warned to avoid noxious clouds of laze — a term combining the words “lava” and “haze” — formed when lava reacts with seawater to form a mix of acid fumes, steam and glass-like specks.

Lava flows have knocked out telephone and power lines, causing widespread communication outages, and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island’s electricity.

At the same time, most of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of the island’s biggest tourist attractions, remains closed indefinitely due to hazards from ash and volcanic rock ejected from the summit crater, and accompanying earthquakes that have damaged park facilities.

Kilauea’s current upheaval comes on the heels of an eruption cycle that began in 1983 and had continued nearly nonstop for 35 years, destroying more than 200 homes. Scientists say they are unsure whether the latest activity is part of the same eruption phase or a new one, and how long it may last.

(Additional reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Mandatory evacuation ordered as Hawaii eruption hits four-week mark

As volcanic fissures spurts molten rock into the air, lava slowly approaches a home on Nohea Street in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, May 27, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

By Jolyn Rosa

HONOLULU (Reuters) – The Hawaii community hardest hit by the Kilauea Volcano was ordered sealed off under a strict new mandatory evacuation on Thursday as the eruption marked its fourth week with no end in sight.

The Big Island’s mayor, Harry Kim, declared a roughly 17-block swath of the lava-stricken Leilani Estates subdivision off-limits indefinitely and gave any residents remaining there 24 hours to leave or face possible arrest.

The mandatory evacuation zone lies within a slightly larger area that was already under a voluntary evacuation and curfew.

The latest order was announced a day after police arrested a 62-year-old Leilani Estates resident who fired a handgun over the head of a younger man from the same community, apparently believing his neighbor was an intruder or looter.

The confrontation on Tuesday was recorded on cell phone video that later went viral.

But the mandatory evacuation was “decided prior to that incident,” said David Mace, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency currently assigned to the Hawaii County Civil Defense authority.

Civil defense officials have previously said about 2,000 residents in and around Leilani Estates were displaced at the outset of the current eruption, which began on May 3.

But the total number of evacuees was estimated to have risen to about 2,500 after authorities ushered residents from the nearby Kapoho area as a precaution on Wednesday, as a lava flow threatened to cut off a key access road.

At least 75 homes — most of them in Leilani Estates — have been devoured by streams of red-hot molten rock creeping from about two dozen large volcanic vents, or fissures, that have opened in the ground since Kilauea rumbled back to life four weeks ago. Lava flows also have knocked out power and telephone lines in the region, disrupting communications.

Besides spouting fountains of lava around the clock, the fissures have released high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas on a near constant basis, posing an ongoing health hazard. Meanwhile, the main summit crater has periodically erupted in clouds of volcanic ash that create breathing difficulties and other problems for residents living downwind.

The heightened volcanic activity has been accompanied by frequent earthquakes, as magma — the term for lava before it reaches the surface — pushes its way up from deep inside the earth and exerts tremendous force underground.

After a month of continual eruptions at Kilauea’s summit and along its eastern flank, geologists say they have no idea how much longer it will last.

“There’s no sign we’re getting that anything is going to slow down at the moment,” Wendy STOVL, a vulcanologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. “We don’t see any changes occurring.”

An aerial view of Kilauea Volcano's summit caldera and an ash plume billowing from Halema'uma'u, a crater within the caldera, May 27, 2018. Courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol/USGS/Handout via REUTERS

An aerial view of Kilauea Volcano’s summit caldera and an ash plume billowing from Halema’uma’u, a crater within the caldera, May 27, 2018. Courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol/USGS/Handout via REUTERS

The island’s mayor on Wednesday renewed an emergency proclamation for 60 more days, allowing construction of temporary shelters and other relief projects to proceed on an expedited basis, without reviews and permits normally required.

The month-old eruption of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, followed an eruption cycle that had continued almost nonstop for 35 years.

Stovall said geologists now believe the latest upheaval should be classified as a separate volcanic event, though an official determination has yet to be made.

(Reporting by Jolyn Rosa; Additonal reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Fast lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano closes highway

Lava from the Kilauea volcano shoots into the air from a fissure near Luana Street, in the Leilani Estates near Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

By Jolyn Rosa

HONOLULU (Reuters) – Fast-moving lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano forced officials to close part of a highway on Tuesday, and they warned that sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers carried by the wind could injure eyes and lungs.

As lava crossed Highway 132, officials shut a stretch of road from Lava Tree State Park to Four Corners and told residents who had not evacuated to leave the area immediately.

The lava flow destroyed a farm where Kevin Hopkins and partners raise tropical fish and the ornamental carp known as koi. “It just came over and ate the farm, boiled the water out of the ponds,” Hopkins said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano in a vertical plume some 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) high, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the latest outburst in a month of volcanic activity.

The agency warned that ash was drifting northwest and liable to affect anyone in the summit area. Hundreds of people have been ordered to leave the vicinity of one of the world’s most active volcanoes in its biggest eruption cycle in a century.

Lava covers Pohoiki Road near Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

Lava covers Pohoiki Road near Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Garcia

Kilauea entered its fourth week of what may be an unprecedented, simultaneous eruption at its summit crater and along a six-mile (9.7-km) string of fissures 25 miles (40 km) down its east flank.

Lava flows from multiple fissures have blocked roads and damaged dozens of buildings on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Lava has also destroyed more than 400 electric poles and other equipment, causing power outages, the utility Hawaii Electric Light reported. It is unclear how many homes and businesses were without power.

One fountain of lava rose more than 200 feet (60 meters) at times on Monday, the Geological Survey said.

Officials are on high alert for occasional earthquakes, though most have been small.

Lava has engulfed the heads of two wells that tap into steam and gas deep into the Earth at the 38-megawatt Puna Geothermal Venture electrical plant, which used to produce a quarter of the Big Island’s electricity. Its operator, Israeli-controlled Ormat Technologies Inc, said it had not been able to assess the damage.

So far no deaths have been blamed on the eruption, though a man’s leg was shattered when he was hit by a plate-size chunk of lava rock.

Residents fear the electrical plant’s deep geothermal wells may be explosive. Officials have said the power plant is safe but lava has never engulfed a geothermal plant anywhere in the world, creating a measure of uncertainty.

Contingency plans have been made for a possible helicopter evacuation of up to 1,000 residents in a coastal area south of the fissures should their last exit route, State Highway 130, become blocked by lava or become unsafe due to gaping cracks, County of Hawaii officials said.

At least 82 homes have been destroyed in the southeastern corner of Big Island and about 2,000 people have been ordered evacuated since Kilauea began erupting on May 3.

(Reporting by Jolyn Rosa and Marco Garcia; Writing and additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Sandra Maler and Darren Schuettler)

Hawaii volcano spews 6 mile-high plume of ash, could blow again

Lava spattering area from an area between fissures 16 and 20 is seen in Hawaii, U.S. May 16, 2018. Picture taken on May 16, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS

By Terray Sylvester

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) – Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spewed ash nearly six miles (9 km) into the sky on Thursday and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.

“This has relieved pressure temporarily,” U.S. Geological Survey geologist Michelle Coombs told a news conference in Hilo. “We may have additional larger, powerful events.”

Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground during the two-week eruption.

The wind could carry Kilauea’s ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island’s largest city and a major tourism center, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.

A person is silhouetted against the light from lava in Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 17, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media on May 18, 2018. KRIS BURMEISTER/via REUTERS

A person is silhouetted against the light from lava in Pahoa, Hawaii, U.S., May 17, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media on May 18, 2018. KRIS BURMEISTER/via REUTERS

“Protect yourself from ash fallout,” it said.

Some Big Island residents had feared “the big one” after Kilauea shot anvil-sized “ballistic blocks” into the visitors’ car park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.

But geologists said the 4:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m. EDT) explosion was not particularly large and on a par with the last series of steam-driven blasts, which took place in 1924.

“The activity is such that they can occur at any time, separated by a number of hours,” Hawaiian National Volcano Observatory Deputy Scientist-In-Charge Steve Brantley told reporters on a conference call.

Geologists said it was extremely unlikely Kilauea would have a massive eruption like that of 1790 which killed dozens of people in the deadliest eruption to occur in what is now the United States.

Kilauea’s falling lava lake has likely descended to a level at or below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of its lava column and create steam-driven blasts, they said.

“I don’t think there is a big one that’s coming,” said University of Hawaii vulcanologist Scott Rowland.

“I think it’s going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that’s based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog,” he said of the nearly century old event, which lasted 2-1/2 weeks and killed one person who was hit by a “ballistic block.”

On Thursday, a 21st fissure also opened in Leilani Estates while other fissures reactivated with lava, the Hawaii Civil Defense said in an alert.

People wait in line for free dust masks in Keaau to protect themselves from volcanic ash during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

People wait in line for free dust masks in Keaau to protect themselves from volcanic ash during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

ASH MASKS

A spike in toxic sulfur dioxide gas levels closed schools around the town of Pahoa, 25 miles (40 km) east of the volcano, where lava from giant cracks has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced about 2,000 residents to evacuate.

A change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift northwest towards Pahoa, prompting National guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection, according to a Reuters reporter.

Pahoa fire station recorded a “red level” of sulfur dioxide, meaning the gas would cause choking and an inability to breathe, Fenix Grange of the Hawaii Department of Health told a news conference in Hilo.

“If it’s red, it’s get out of Dodge,” she said.

There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption.

Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea to protect residents from the powdered rock, which is not poisonous but causes irritation to eyes and airways.

Volunteers handed out some 5,000 dust masks in less than three hours in the community of Kea’au, north of Pahoa at one of the four distribution points that were opened on Thursday.

“It was just thick, eyes watering kinda stuff,” said Glenn Severance, 65, a resident of Hawaii Paradise Park.

“I just wanted to have something,” said Severance, adding he knew the mask would not protect against toxic volcanic gases.

An aviation red alert was in effect due to risks ash could be carried into aircraft routes and damage jet engines, USGS said. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday’s plume.

A geologist inspects cracks on a road in Leilani Estates, following eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii May 17, 2018. United States Geological Survey (USGS)/Handout via REUTERS

A geologist inspects cracks on a road in Leilani Estates, following eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii May 17, 2018. United States Geological Survey (USGS)/Handout via REUTERS

Across the Big Island, home to 200,000 residents, people were encouraged to take caution driving, as ashfall can make roads slippery, and not go outdoors unless necessary.

But by 1:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. EDT) reported ashfall was limited to only light, wet deposits about 3-4 miles (5-6 km) northwest of the summit, as rain over the volcano curbed the spread of ash.

Thursday’s eruption lasted only a few minutes, said Coombs who called it “a big event that got people’s attention, but did not have widespread impact”.

“Tall but small,” she said of Thursday’s plume.

(Additional reporting by Jolyn Rosa in Honolulu; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Sandra Maler and Himani Sarkar)

Hawaii volcano could start spewing big rocks, smog, ash

An ash column rises from the Overlook crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, May 9, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS

By Terray Sylvester

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) – A large explosion in Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Wednesday may mark the beginning of more violent, explosive eruptions that could spray rocks for miles (kilometers) and dust nearby towns in volcanic ash and smog, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Kilauea, Hawaii’s most active volcano, erupted on Thursday, and a powerful earthquake shook the crater the next day. Lava flows from fissures on its flank have destroyed at least 36 homes and other buildings, and caused the evacuation of some 2,000 residents.

The USGS warned that more violent eruptions at the crater could begin mid-May, shooting rocks weighing several tons for over half a mile (1 km), hurling pebble-sized projectiles several miles (km) and dusting areas up 20 miles (32 km) away with ash.

A man wearing a gas mask takes pictures of a lava fissure in Leilani Estates, Hawaii, U.S. May 9, 2018, in this still image taken from a social media video. Apau Hawaii Tours/Social Media via REUTERS

A man wearing a gas mask takes pictures of a lava fissure in Leilani Estates, Hawaii, U.S. May 9, 2018, in this still image taken from a social media video. Apau Hawaii Tours/Social Media via REUTERS

“This is the first of perhaps more events like that to come,” Tina Neal, the scientist in charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said of Wednesday’s blast which shot projectiles from the crater.

The town of Hilo some 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island and the village of Pahoa 24 miles (39 km) east, could be exposed to volcanic air pollution, or so-called vog, and a layer of ash should explosive eruptions begin and prevailing wind directions shift, Neal said.

Such steam-driven explosions would be triggered by water running into the crater’s falling lava lake should it drop below the level of groundwater.

Geologists cautioned that Kilauea’s past explosions had been relatively small on a global scale, and while ash from the volcano posed a nuisance as an eye and respiratory irritant, it was not a serious health hazard.

“We don’t anticipate there being any wholesale devastation or evacuations necessary anywhere in the state of Hawaii,” said Donald Swanson of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said all 1,900 residents of the Leilani Estates and Laipuna Garden areas, around 25 miles (40 km) east of the crater, had been evacuated. Lava oozing from two new fissures in the area had paused but sulfur dioxide gas was still a hazard.

Exposure to very high levels of the gas, which causes acid rain, can be life-threatening, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Evacuee David Nail was anxious to learn if his house had been destroyed. He was asleep on the couch when a fissure opened up 2,000 feet (610 meters) away, spewing out lava and gas.

“It sounded like 10 or 20 jet engines,” said Nail. The 57-year-old, who recently retired to the area from Orange County, California, said he had seen drone footage showing lava flowing up his driveway, causing two propane tanks to explode.

He tried to reach his house on Tuesday, but he and his neighbors were blocked by a 20-foot-tall (6-meter-tall) wall of lava.

“All we could do was sit there and cry,” he said.

Fifteen fissures have opened since Kilauea’s vents started spraying fountains of lava up to 300 feet (90 meters) into the air on Thursday and 116 acres (47 hectares) of land have been covered with lava.

Kilauea has been in a state of nearly constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly blows off basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that flow into the ocean but occasionally experiences more explosive events.

A powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano’s south flank shook the area on Friday. It was the second largest of the last century in Hawaii. More earthquakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.

Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea is located, remains open to tourists, albeit with some restrictions.

(Reporting by Terray Sylvester; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)

‘Go now’, Hawaii residents warned as eruptions spread

Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, the U.S., May 5, 2018. U.S. Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS

By Terray Sylvester

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) – Emergency authorities battling lava flows and gas erupting from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano told some residents to “Go now” as a new fissure opened and more structures were destroyed.

Kilauea has destroyed 26 homes and forced 1,700 people to leave their residences since it erupted on Thursday, spewing lava and toxic gas from volcanic vents in a small area of Hawaii’s Big Island.

A new fissure spraying lava fountains as high as about 230 feet (70 m), according to United States Geological Survey, is shown from Luana Street in Leilani Estates subdivision on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone in Hawaii, U.S., May 5, 2018. US Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS

A new fissure spraying lava fountains as high as about 230 feet (70 m), according to United States Geological Survey, is shown from Luana Street in Leilani Estates subdivision on Kilauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone in Hawaii, U.S., May 5, 2018. US Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS

A new fissure opened on Sunday night in the Leilani Estates area some 12 miles from the volcano, prompting a cellphone alert for residents to leave homes to avoid sulfur dioxide gas, which can be life threatening at high levels.So far no fatalities or major injuries have been reported from the volcano, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Evacuees from Leilani Estates were allowed to return for pets, medications and to check property on Sunday, but some like Jeremy Wilson found homes surrounded by fissures that can be hundreds of feet long.

“My house is right in the middle,” said Wilson, who turned back in his car when he saw steam coming from cracks in the road ahead.

The semi-rural wooded area of Leilani Estates had become a magnet for newcomers to Hawaii’s Big Island who were prepared to risk living near to an active volcano in return for more affordable real-estate prices.

Eruptions of lava and gas were expected to continue, along with aftershocks from Friday’s 6.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest in the area since 1975, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. A lava flow advanced 0.6 of a mile from one of the vents.

Lava emerges from the ground after Kilauea Volcano erupted, on Hawaii's Big Island May 3, 2018, in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Jeremiah Osuna/via REUTERS

Lava emerges from the ground after Kilauea Volcano erupted, on Hawaii’s Big Island May 3, 2018, in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Jeremiah Osuna/via REUTERS

Geologists said the activity looked like an event in 1955 when eruptions continued for 88 days in the area and covered around 4,000 acres with lava.

Jessica Gauthier, 47, said she and other local realtors had seen vacation renters cancel their reservations, even though the volcanic activity is confined to a relatively isolated area far from tourist centers.

“There’s no way to know that if you’re sitting in your living room in Ohio and watching the national news,” she said.

Gauthier predicted business would pick up as a new kind of visitor began to appear.

 

County workers deliver cots and blankets to an evacuation center in Pahoa available to residents of the Puna communities of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens who were forced to leave their homes after the Kilauea Volcano erupted on Thursday in Hawaii, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

County workers deliver cots and blankets to an evacuation center in Pahoa available to residents of the Puna communities of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens who were forced to leave their homes after the Kilauea Volcano erupted on Thursday in Hawaii, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

“Within a month we’ll start getting lava tourists,” she said of people who come to Hawaii to see its active volcanoes.

Hawaii County authorities requested lava watchers keep away.

“This is not the time for sightseeing. You can help tremendously by staying out of the area,” the civil defense agency said in a statement.

(Reporting by Terray Sylvester; Writing by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Chopra)

Unusual eruptions at world’s largest active geyser in Yellowstone

FILE PHOTO: The Steamboat Geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 21, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File Photo

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The world’s largest active geyser has erupted three times in the past six weeks at Yellowstone National Park, including once this week, in a pattern that is unusual but not at all indicative of a more destructive volcanic eruption brewing beneath Wyoming, geologists said on Saturday.

Steamboat Geyser, which can shoot water as high as 300 feet (91 meters) into the air, erupted on March 15, April 19 and on Friday. The last time it erupted three times in a year was in 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Yellowstone Volcano Observatory said.

The last time it erupted prior to March was more than three years ago in September 2014.

“There is nothing to indicate that any sort of volcanic eruption is imminent,” Michael Poland, the scientist in charge for the observatory, said in an email.

This year’s eruptions have been smaller than a usual Steamboat eruption, but the two in April were about 10 times larger than an eruption at the park’s famed Old Faithful Geyser in terms on the amount of water discharged, he said.

Geologists have not pinpointed a reason for the latest series of eruptions, but say they could indicate a thermal disturbance in the geyser basin, or that Steamboat may be having smaller eruptions instead of one large.

Since most geysers do not erupt on a regular schedule, “it might just reflect the randomness of geysers,” Poland said.

Only Waimangu Geyser in New Zealand has rocketed to greater heights than Steamboat, but not for more than 100 years, the U.S. National Park Service said.

Yellowstone sits atop a volcano that created a vast crater. Its plateau hosts the world’s most diverse and expansive continental hydrothermal systems, including the multicolored springs, mudpots and geysers for which the park is known.

While the Steamboat eruptions are unusual, what would be far more worrying would be the water in the hydrothermal systems drying up, which could indicate that the super hot magma deep below was making its way to the surface.

“Yellowstone hasn’t had a volcanic eruption for 70,000 years! Geysers erupt all the time,” said Jake Lowenstern, a USGS research geologist who specializes in volcanoes.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and XX)

Philippines raises volcano alert level after lava flow

Mount Mayon erupts in Legazpi City, Philippines, January 13, 2018 in this still obtained from social media. Picture taken January 13, 2018.

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines raised the alert level at its rumbling Mayon volcano to “level 3” on Sunday after detecting lava flow and indications of activity that could lead to eruptions of magma.

More than 900 families have been evacuated from villages near Mayon, a tourist attraction because of its near-perfect cone shape, following a “steam-driven eruption” on Saturday.

Authorities advised people to cover their noses and mouths with a damp, clean cloth or dust mask if they were exposed to ash from the eruptions, and said aircraft must avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit.[nL4N1P807T]

Two similar “phreatic” eruptions occurred at the volcano in central Albay province on Sunday, unleashing more ash.

“Mayon’s summit crater is now exhibiting bright crater glow that signifies the growth of a new lava dome and beginnings of lava flow towards the southern slopes,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Residents wait for a military truck as they flee home for safety after Mayon volcano erupted in Camalig town, Albay province, south of Manila, Philippines January 14, 2018.

Residents wait for a military truck as they flee home for safety after Mayon volcano erupted in Camalig town, Albay province, south of Manila, Philippines January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Rhadyz Barcia

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the volcano appeared due for another major eruption as it has been displaying abnormal behaviour since late last year.

“Alert level 3 is what we considered critical, 4 is when eruption is imminent, and 5 is eruption in progress,” Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said in a radio interview.

Mayon’s most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava buried a town and killed 1,200 people. It last erupted in 2014, spewing lava and forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

The latest eruptions began on Saturday, unleashing ash, rocks and sulphur fumes and accompanied by rumbling sounds.

Phivolcs had earlier raised the alert to “level 2”, saying the activity was “probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruptions.”

Since Saturday’s first eruption, Phivolcs said it had recorded 158 rockfall events and urged people to stay away from a 6-kilometre (3.7 mile) radius Permanent Danger Zone and a 7-km Expanded Danger Zone on the volcano’s southern flank.

Landslides and sudden explosions or a dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows are also possible, it said.

People within the slope of the volcano, but outside the danger zones, were told to take precautionary measures against possible roof collapses due to accumulated ash and rainwater, and “lahar”, an Indonesian term for a volcanic mudflow.

And the provincial government suspended Monday’s classes from kindergarten to senior high school in some areas.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Alexander Smith)