By CALEB JONES
HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano appeared Thursday, sending lava shooting into the air in a property community and triggering mandatory evacuation orders for neighboring homes.
Hawaii County said steam and lava poured out of a fracture in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island.
Video shown on regional television showed lava spurting into the sky from a fracture in a road. Aerial drone footage revealed a line of lava snaking through a forest.
Homeowner Jeremiah Osuna captured drone video of the lava burning through the trees, a scene he described as a “curtain of fire.”
“It seemed like if you were to put a bunch of rocks into a dryer and turn it on as high as you could. You might just smell sulfur and burning trees and underbrush and stuff,” he informed Honolulu television station KHON.
Lava fountains were shooting 150 feet (46 meters) in the air, and molten lava spread out over an area about 200 lawns (183 meters) wide behind one house in Leilani Estates, Big Island resident Ikaika Marzo informed the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“It sounds like a jet engine. It’s going hard,” he stated.
Authorities stated there is no way to forecast the length of time the eruption will continue.
Asta Miklius, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, informed The Associated Press that there is a fair bit of lava in the volcano’s system.
“It won’t be simply an hours-long eruption most likely, but for how long it will last will depend on whether the top magma reservoir gets involved,” she said.
County, state and federal authorities had actually been cautioning homeowners all week that they should be prepared to leave, as an eruption would offer little caution. Officials at the United States Geological Survey on Thursday raised the volcano’s alert level to cautioning status, the greatest possible, meaning a dangerous eruption impends, underway or suspected.
The county has bought evacuations for all of Leilani Estates, which inning accordance with the 2010 U.S. Census has a population of 1,500. Hawaii Gov. David Ige also mobilized the Hawaii National Guard to help with evacuations and security.
Ige likewise signed an emergency pronouncement providing state loan for action efforts. There are about 770 structures in the subdivision where lava is flowing.
Neighboring community centers have opened for shelter.
Ranson Yoneda, the entertainment director for a Pahoa community center, was preparing the gym for evacuees after it was chosen as a Red Cross evacuation center.
He said so far, about 15 people have actually arrived, some with animals, and they are starving for info.
“They just need to know what’s going on because they were informed it’s a necessary evacuation,” he said by telephone.
The U.S. Geological Survey stated new ground fractures were reported Thursday afternoon. Hot vapor emerged from a crack and spattering lava started to appear.
Researchers said locations downslope of the erupting vent were at danger of being covered by lava. Leilani Estates appeared to be at greatest danger, however researchers stated brand-new vents and outbreaks might happen and it’s not possible to state where.
The eruption follows days of earthquakes rattled the area’s Puna district. A neighboring school was closed due to the ongoing seismic activity and several streets broken under the stress of the continuous temblors.
The Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers.
The collapse triggered magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope towards the populated southeast shoreline of the island.
USGS geologist Janet Babb stated the magma crossed under Highway 130, which leads to a popular volcano gain access to point, on Tuesday night.
Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency closed the location to visitors on Tuesday and purchased personal trip companies to stop taking people into the area.
The majority of Kilauea’s activity has been nonexplosive, however a 1924 eruption gushed ash and 10-ton (9-metric load) rocks into the sky, leaving one man dead.
Puu Oo’s 1983 eruption led to lava water fountains soaring over 1,500 feet (457 meters) high. In the decades since, the lava circulation has actually buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many houses.
Associated Press journalists Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu and Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, added to this report.
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