Hawaii volcano: Kilauea Big Island ERUPTION ongoing as officials warn ‘Stay away!’

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Lava is emerging from vents on the north west area of the crater and flowing into a lake. The Big Island’s most active volcano is observed closely by scientists.

Kilauea erupted in 2018, destroying more than 700 homes and releasing enough lava to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Its lava lake is measured at 643 feet deep at its west side after the recent eruption and is connected to the source vents by a crusted channel, researchers note.

The eastern half of the lava lake appears to be stagnant, the US Geological Survey said on Monday.

Surrounding communities are not at risk but it does pose dangers.

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High levels of volcanic gas and glass particles, rockfalls and explosions are hazards, scientists warn.

But this has not stopped selfie-chasing tourists from scaling the volcano since the ongoing eruption started on December 20.

It was marked by a steam cloud shooting 30,000 feet into the air after water evaporated from the lake.

The National Park Service has issued a warning to visitors, telling them to “stay back from cliff edges”.

Chief Ranger Jack Corrao said: “All it takes is a slight change in wind direction and these offenders could inhale a fatal dose of volcanic gas.

“One misstep or a crumbling cliff edge and they could plunge into the vast pit of molten rock or to the crater floor.

“We want to keep the park open so everyone can safely experience this beautiful new eruption, but when visitors enter closed areas, rangers must concentrate on these few individuals.

“This puts our staff in hazardous situations and causes them to shift their focus away from the safety of visitors experiencing the eruption in designated viewing areas.”

In a tweet about the latest movements at Kilauea on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey wrote: “Lava erupting from vents on northwest side of the crater, flowing through crusted channel [and] into [the] lake.

“Eastern half of [the] lake [is] stagnating (not circulating).”

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There are five volcanoes in Hawaii but Kilauea is the most active.

It is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.

In May 2018, it erupted at the summit in Halemaʻumaʻu, prompting the destruction of Hawaii’s largest natural freshwater lake.

A total of 716 properties were also destroyed by lava and it took until August to subside.

Mount Etna on the east coast of Sicily is believed to be the most active volcano in the world.

It also erupted last month, shooting lava and smoke hundreds of feet into the sky.

Etna produces enough lava every year to fill a 108-story skyscraper.

Kilauea’s 2018 eruption produced enough lava to cover Interstate 90, the 3,000-mile highway between east and west coast USA.

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