Hawaii has been placed on red alert as the Kilauea volcano could have a major eruption at any time.
The Big Island volcano is one of the most active in the world, and over the past 12 days, its level of activity has significantly increased.
Erupting for 10 days so far, more than 2000 people have already been evacuated as a major volcanic eruption looks imminent.
In a statement released yesterday afternoon (May 15) the US Geological Survey confirmed:
As of early this morning, eruption of ash from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit has generally increased in intensity.
Ash has been rising nearly continuously from the vent and drifting downwind to the southwest. Ashfall and vog (volcanic air pollution) has been reported in Pahala, about 18 miles downwind.
NWS radar and pilot reports indicate the top of the ash cloud is as high as 10,000 to 12,000 feet above sea level, but this may be expected to vary depending on the vigor of activity and wind conditions.
Ash emission from the Kilauea summit vent will likely be variable with periods of increased and decreased intensity depending on the occurrence of rockfalls into the vent and other changes within the vent.
At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.
Due to the severity of the volcanic activity, the alert level has been raised from orange to red, which is the highest it can get.
Recently, plumes of smoke have been reaching up to 12,000 feet into the sky, causing ash to rain down on nearby towns.
The temperature of the lava which is erupting out, has reached an incredibly hot 217 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, some of the vents in the volcano are releasing high levels of sulfur dioxide, which poses a grave danger to anyone nearby.
For a look at what the Kilauea volcano looks like right now, check out this video:
A 20th fissure, 300 metres long, opened on the volcano’s side earlier this week, releasing more lava, gas and smoke.
Although there’ve been no reports of any injuries or deaths, nearby residents have all been evacuated, being ordered to leave their homes.
If the lava hits the nearby, Highway 132 or 137, more mass evacuations will be triggered.
Following a request from Hawaii’s governor ,David Ige, US President Donald Trump declared a disaster last Friday (May 11).
The Hawaii Civil Defense has been quick to shut down rumours of a possible tsunami, releasing the following statement:
The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has received several inquiries from media and the public asking about the potential for a tsunami to affect other counties. This is a false message being spread.
According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory there is no geologic evidence for an tsunami-generating earthquake at this time. Any such event is extremely unlikely.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and other county, state and federal partners continue to monitor the volcanic and seismic activity.
For all the latest updates, it’s recommended you check the US Geological Society website.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.