Red Alert issued for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, threat of major eruption

United States geological survey (USGS) has declared red level of danger air in Hawaii due to the eruption of the Kilauea volcano.

An ash plume from the Kilauea volcano's summit crater on Hawaii's Big Island has risen as high as 12,000ft above sea level, according to monitors.

Michelle Coombs of the USGS described it as " very hazardous for aviation", and said her team isn't quite sure what caused Tuesday's slightly more intense ash emissions.

Authorities on Tuesday reported a new fissure opened up in the adjoining Lanipuna Gardens subdivision, near Leilani Estates subdivision, bringing the number of cracks in the ground spitting out lava and toxic gas to almost 20 since the eruption began May 3.

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Scientists have said a phreatic eruption could send ash plumes as far as 12 miles into the air from the summit crater.

There was no effect on air carrier operations to Hawaii on Wednesday, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email.

Massive swathes of land have been devoured, 37 structures - a lot of them homes - have been destroyed, and around 2,000 people have had to flee their homes.

Kilauea (translated from Hawaiian - "spewing, much spreading or pouring) is an active volcano on the island of Hawaii". "Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant". Here's a breakdown of the current status of Hawaii Island's tourism offerings.

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Communities near the volcano, which is located on Hawaii's "Big Island", have reported ashfall.

College exchange student Constantin Plinke, 24, was planning to go to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park before it was shut.

Residents around PGV's Pohoiki power plant have anxious that earthquakes or a lava flow could cause an uncontrolled blowout that would spew toxic gases into their communities.

There have been no major injuries or deaths reported from the eruption.

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A looming menace remains the risk of an "explosive eruption" of Kilauea, an event last seen in 1924.

  • Ryan Wade