Super-hot lava threat for Hawaii as Trump declares disaster

Kilauea's eruption began last week after the crater floor of a long-active side vent collapsed in a cloud of ash, triggering a plunge in the lava lake inside the larger summit crater.

Since May 3, Hawaii County and the State of Hawaii have spent more than £295,000 ($400,000) in emergency protective measures for the lava flow and earthquakes in the Kilauea East Rift Zone. The restriction extends 20,000 feet above ground level. The US Geological Survey warned that more outbreaks remained likely. Rocks "the size of cows" could be hurled as far as 800 meters from the site of the blast, according to one expert who spoke to local media.

What will take a turn for the worse in terms of hazard is if hotter, fresher magma makes it to the surface, and that could be what is coming, said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lead scientist Tina Neal.

Hawaii Governor David Ige has requested federal disaster assistance as he said a mass evacuation of the lower Puna District, where Leilani Estates is located, would be beyond current county and state capabilities.

But experts said there was a continuing threat that the lava could drop below the water table.

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Haspel didn't talk about ultimatums or engage in hypotheticals about storming out of the Oval Office or offering her resignation. McCain, who is at home in Arizona recovering from surgery and treatment for cancer, will not be casting a vote on Haspel.

Hawaii tourism officials are hoping Kilauea's eruption won't deter travelers from visiting the state's largest island, even as geologists warn the volcano could soon shoot large boulders out of its summit.

Local meteorologists said the change in prevailing winds could send Kilauea's volcanic smog, or vog, northwest to Maui and other islands in Hawaii.

"It can be very hard to distinguish individual "plumes" from these sulfur dioxide sources with the spatial resolution that we have from OMPS, but we are seeing what seems to be an overall increase that coincides with the latest activity", said Michigan Tech volcanologistSimon Carn.

In Pahoa, the nearest village to Kilauea, some schools remained closed after the area was hit by a 6.9 magnitude quake on Friday, the biggest since 1975.

"It's like our version of a snow day - a lava day", joked Markoff.

  • Megan Austin