Quakes dam­age roads as ash spews from Hawaii vol­cano

The Philippine Star - - WORLD NEWS -

HONOLULU (AP) — Earth­quakes were dam­ag­ing roads and build­ings on Hawaii’s Big Is­land on Wed­nes­day as ash emis­sions streamed from Ki­lauea vol­cano.

The strong­est shak­ing was recorded around 8:30 a.m., mea­sured as a 4.4-mag­ni­tude earth­quake.

The floor of the sum­mit crater has also dropped about three feet, as the threat of a strong, ex­plo­sive erup­tion at the top of the vol­cano loomed.

The ground was de­flat­ing as the crater’s lava lev­els fell, caus­ing stress faults around the crater to move, re­sult­ing in the earth­quakes. More were ex­pected.

Ash spewed from the sum­mit at Hawaii’s Ki­lauea vol­cano, though emis­sions de­creased from Tues­day.

There were oc­ca­sional bursts of ash com­ing from the crater caus­ing ash to fall down­wind to sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties, though there were only trace amounts, said the Hawai­ian Vol­cano Ob­ser­va­tory.

Ash plumes on Tues­day had spouted as high as 12,000 feet into the air, sci­en­tists said.

These plumes are sep­a­rate from the lava erup­tions hap­pen­ing roughly 40 kilo­me­ters away from the sum­mit, where about 20 lava fis­sures have de­stroyed more than two dozen homes and forced the evac­u­a­tion of about 2,000 res­i­dents.

Dense, large rocks roughly two feet in di­am­e­ter were found in a park­ing lot a few hun­dred yards away from Ki­lauea’s sum­mit crater, which re­flect the “most en­er­getic ex­plo­sions yet ob­served and could re­flect the on­set of steam­driven ex­plo­sive ac­tiv­ity,” the Hawai­ian Vol­cano Ob­ser­va­tory said in a state­ment, and con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor ac­tiv­ity.

Sci­en­tists say earth­quakes may shake loose rocks un­der­ground and open up new tun­nels for lava to flow.

Cracks formed on a high­way near the en­trance to Hawaii Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park, said the Hawaii Po­lice Depart­ment. Much of the park re­mains closed.

“We’re all safe, and I wish they’d open the park back up, but they have to keep it safe for every­body,” said Ken McGilvray, an area res­i­dent. “We live on a vol­cano!”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the state is form­ing a joint task force that could han­dle mass evac­u­a­tions of the Big Is­land’s Puna dis­trict if lava from Ki­lauea vol­cano cov­ers ma­jor roads and iso­lates the area.

AP

Photo shows lava spat­ter­ing from an area be­tween ac­tive Fis­sures 16 and 20 on the lower east rift of the Ki­lauea vol­cano, near Pahoa, Hawaii yes­ter­day.

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