Incredible photos show golfers in Hawaii next to huge volcanic ash plume

17 May, 2018, 01:22 | Author: Kim Reid
  • A Virgin Mary statue is silhoutted by the glow of the latest lava eruption from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island

As a result, officials announced most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park would be closed indefinitely to keep visitors and park employees at a safe distance from a possible eruption.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) sent out a warning after huge plumes of ash were seen coming from the peak today.

The Kilauea volcano is located on the southeast side of Hawaii island, also known as Big Island, which has a population of 185,000.

According to the agency, plumes of ash cloud as high as 12,000 feet are threatening visibility, with volatile wind conditions potentially bringing projectiles and volcanic fog in contact with aircraft.

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A massive ash plume rising from a fissure on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has caused authorities to issue a red alert for airplanes in the region for the first time since the mountain suddenly ramped up its activity almost two weeks ago. A red alert, according to the agency, means a "major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway or suspected, with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air".

Ashfall and unsafe volcanic smog, otherwise known as "vog", from the ash cloud were reported as far southwest as Pahala, a small community about 18 miles downwind of the crater.

Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates.

The lava lake in the crater has been dropping since May 2, which increases the chances for a phreatic explosion.

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While the volcanic activity has led to dozens of minor earthquakes, officials - including Hawaii Governor David Ige - have moved to reassure the public following speculation about a potential tsunami.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant.

Several fissures shot lava into the air on Wednesday but the flow from number 17 had not advanced any further toward coastal Highway 137, which remains around a mile distant, County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a statement.

CNN's Stephanie Elam said her heart started pounding as she approached one fissure.

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