Scientists Warn Hawaii Volcano Could Spew Out Car-Sized Rocks And Toxic Waste

Janice Wei/via REUTERS

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Scientists say a massive volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island is poised to go through several more explosive eruptions over the coming days as people continue scurrying for cover.

A lava lake at Kilauea’s summit is draining inside the volcano as red-hot magma courses underground. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Tina Neal said molten liquid could burst to the surface, produce high levels of toxic gases, and propel car-sized rocks into the air.

“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,” Neal said in a conference call Friday. “Once a new batch of hotter, gassier magma makes it to the surface we might see larger, higher eruption rates.”

Hawaii’s Kilauea began erupting on May 4, and the flow of molten lava into the nearby Leilani Estates has forced nearly 1,500 people to flee their homes. A series of small earthquakes rocked Hawaii’s Big Island for several days before the eruption. (RELATED: Over 1,000 Evacuations Ordered As Hawaii’s Kilauea Erupts Into Residential Area)

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Hawaii Saturday. Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, asked the president Wednesday to formally declare the state a “major disaster.” He estimates the costs could exceed $2.9 million over the next month. (RELATED: Earthquakes Rattle Hawaii As Lava And Toxic Gas Force Mandatory Evacuations)
“Federal funding is available to the state and to eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes in Hawaii County,” the government said in a statement late Friday.

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