Flow of lava is threat­en­ing es­cape route on Big Island

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Doug Stan­glin

Au­thor­i­ties on Hawaii’s Big Island warn that a new erup­tion of molten rock from a 220-foot-high foun­tain of lava is chan­nel­ing its way within 100 yards of a key es­cape-route in­ter­sec­tion on the most threat­ened part of the island.

The Big Island, also known as the island of Hawaii, is about 200 miles south­east of Oahu, where the cap­i­tal, Honolulu is lo­cated.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey re­ported Satur­day that a 900-foot wide band of molten rock had pushed to within 100 yards of the in­ter­sec­tion of high­ways 132 and 137 in an area known as Four Cor­ners on the island’s south­east side.

The lava, which the USGS said has cov­ered a 5.5-square-mile area, has burned at least 400 power poles, cut­ting power to most of the area, ac­cord­ing to Hawaii Elec­tric Light Co.

Hawaii Civil De­fense spokesman Tal­madge Mango said Fri­day that at least 87 build­ings have been de­stroyed since the Ki­lauea vol­cano erupted May 3.

With the threat of lava block­ing planned es­cape routes, con­trac­tors have been bull­doz­ing an al­ter­na­tive route through the Hawaii Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park.

GETTY IMAGES

Lava from Ki­lauea cov­ers a 5.5square-mile area on the island of Hawaii.

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