‘Red alert’: Hawaii residents braced this week for the possibility of a major eruption as a 12,000-foot plume of ash and volcanic gas rose from the Big Island’s turbulent Kilauea volcano. The U.S. Geological Survey issued a “red alert” and warned aircraft to stay away from the area. Scientists fear that an eruption caused by a buildup of underground steam at the top of Kilauea could spew ash as far as 12 miles from the summit. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, but the level of volcanic activity has increased sharply in recent weeks. More than 20 fissures have opened in the earth since May 3, sending lava flows and clouds of toxic sulfurdioxide gas into nearby neighborhoods. The eruptions have forced the evacuation of 2,000 residents, but there have been no deaths or major injuries reported so far.
Kilauea: About to blow?