Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kilauea spews more lava than predicted

The lava flow from Kilauea, which has been erupting on and off for 25 years, started on Nov 21 last year. But experts said that more lava is spilling from the volcano and into the ocean than usual.
Officials at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said that the lava is emerging near the Pacific on the southeastern side of the state's Big Island. A surface flow is snaking eastwards from the crater, while underground "tubes" are also expelling lava into the ocean.

A white plume can be seen rising from the Halemaumau vent near Kilauea's summit, which stands at 4,091 feet. Scientists said that the plume is carrying small amounts of ash and elevated levels of sulfur dioxide.

Visitors to the scene of the eruption have so far been able to watch the lava flows from a viewing area, safely located a few hundred feet away from Kilauea.

Experts from the US Geological Survey have also been monitoring the increased activity for the past few days.

Kilauea, which means "spreading" or "spewing" in the local tongue, is the most active of five volcanoes in Hawaii.

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