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Eruption of lava continues from vent in Hawaii neighborhood

June 9, 2018
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This photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a Hawaii Volcano Observatory scientist measuring fountain height and taking high-resolution video to determine whether the volume of material exiting what is known as fissure 8 has changed, above the town of Kapoho on the island of Hawaii, Friday, June 8, 2018. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii volcano continues to erupt from a vent in a Big Island community, sending a stream of lava toward the ocean.

Twenty-four vents, or fissures, have opened up in a mostly rural district of the island since May 3, but lava was coming out only from one fissure, scientists said Friday.

Lava from the eighth fissure that opened early last month was fountaining up to 220 feet (67 meters) high. There was no lava activity from the other fissures but fissures 24, 9, and 10 were billowing gases, scientists said.

Fast-moving lava from fissure 8 poured into the low-laying coastal Hawaii neighborhoods in just two days this week, destroying hundreds of homes. The lava that flowed into Kapoho Bay has created nearly a mile of new land.

It’s been nearly two weeks since the most recent fissure formed. Scientists can’t predict, but say it’s possible for other fissures to open up and release lava. It’s also possible for other fissures to re-activate.

Scientists are keeping track of the rift zone and where it’s becoming pressurized as a possible indication of additional fissures forming.

“But for the past few weeks the overall rift zone has been relatively stable,” said Steve Brantley of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “So it appears that right now there’s just a nice, steady stream of magma moving through the first zone and erupting at fissure 8.”

Scientists from the air and on the ground are trying to track existing ground cracks. They’re taking the temperature of steam coming out the cracks, and monitoring whether they’re widening or extending, Brantley said, as possible clues for whether they may become new, active fissures.

High levels of vog, or volcanic smog, from the eruption were moving north, officials said, in warning there could be poor visibility on roads and difficulties for people with breathing problems.

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