New Fissures Send River of Molten Rock Across Hawaii Highway and Into Pacific Ocean
The lava keeps coming.
The danger presented by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano eruption intensified over the weekend as rivers of molten rock poured into the ocean Sunday and a new launch of so-called "lava bombs" caused the first major injury since the ordeal began earlier this month.
Since then, dozens of homes have burned and thousands of people have been forced to flee as ash clouds shot up from the summit of one of the world's most active volcanoes.
Some 20 fissures have now opened on the Big Island, sending out not just a spattering lava, but also toxic sulfur dioxide gas.
As the lava reaches the Pacific, experts warn that the interaction with seawater can create a cloud of steam laced with hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles.
The resulting lava haze, called "laze," has extended as far as 15 miles west of where the lava met the ocean and the noxious cloud can irritate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems, according to APTN.
Authorities have also warned that the "laze" plume may shift direction if winds change.
Since the beginning of the eruption, about 2,000 people have evacuated their homes. Authorities say there's no way of knowing when the region will be deemed safe enough for them to return.
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