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Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Hazardous cloud spreads from where lava hits sea

Hazardous cloud spreads from where lava hits sea

"Laze - a term combining the words "lava" and haze" - is a mix of hydrochloric acid fumes, steam and fine volcanic glass specks created when erupting lava, which can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius), reacts with sea water, Hawaii County Civil Defense said in a statement.

Authorities warned the public to stay away from the toxic steam cloud, which is formed by a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater.

The clouds contain hydrochloric acid, which is about as corrosive as diluted battery acid. In Hawaii, the U.S. Coast Guard is now monitoring an area near MacKenzie State Recreation Area where lava is flowing into the ocean.

Hawaii lava erupting Kilauea volcano has touched a local resident, said the TV station Hawaii News Now, citing the local government.

Officials continue to monitor the situation, conducting overflight assessments of the volcano.

"At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very near the vent", said the USGS. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit also remain high. Two different lava flows from the combined fissures have now merged less than a mile from the coast.

Officials are now assessing the threat from fast-moving lava that has isolated a rural subdivision of 40 homes below the Big Island volcano.

The 40 homes were isolated in the area east of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens - two neighborhoods where lava has destroyed at least 40 structures, including 26 homes, over the past two weeks. Laze can result in skin and eye irritation and breathing difficulties.

"None of us think that there's going to be some sudden insane random eruption here in the parking lot, but it's just scary to be so close to such a powerful natural event, and feeling the ground shaking all the time and see the red of the sky".

On Sunday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported two large explosions of ash from the summit, following an initial large eruption last Thursday.

It was the latest danger from Mount Kilauea's eruption, which geologists says is among the worst events in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes.

In addition, fast-moving lava crossed a road and threatened dozens of homes, prompting National Guard helicopters to airlift residents from Hawaii's lower Puna area. Fresh lava moves faster and spreads further than old lava.

Williams-Downing said that the explosions and sounds similar to that of "jet engines" are normal now that numerous fissures have been cracking open and spewing lava for almost two weeks.

Officials want residents in the remote and rural area of the Big Island to heed evacuation warnings.

A massive river of lava is moving down Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island as the ongoing eruption intensifies, forcing more people out of their homes and injuring at least one man.

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