Hawaii volcanic eruption could affect tours in the area

Aerial view of lava lake of Puu Oo crater of Kilauea volcano in Big island, Hawaii

UPDATE: The Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday, May 3. Lava was seen running out of the ground on Friday, May 4, on the eastern side of the island, and residents were forced to evacuate. Authorities were telling both residents and guests to stay away from the area because of both high levels of sulfur dioxide gas and volcanic ash.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said the lava could have been shooting as high as 80 to 100 feet into the sky, and there were reports at least a few homes caught fire.

Officials had warned earlier in the week that those traveling to Hawaii in the next few weeks should pay attention to a potential eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said underground magma has moved to an area east of the Puu Oo vent due to a collapsed crater floor at Puu Oo. The area is near the Kilauea summit crater and lava lake.

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The scientists in charge warned earlier that 50 small earthquakes on Wednesday could mean that there is a new eruption coming and people should not go near the area.

Lava was seen on the east side of the volcano earlier in the week.

“The preparations include the identification of shelters, mobilization of police and other security personnel to ensure residents’ safety, and road crews to ensure access to evacuation routes,” said a statement by the mayor of the Big Island.

Tour companies have been notified to stop taking people into the region of the volcano.

“Residents should heed all advice offered by Civil Defense and take the actions recommended by Civil Defense to prepare for a possible eruption,” said geologist Janet Babb. “An eruption is possible because magma is clearly moving through the East Rift Zone and it could come to the surface. The possibility is definitely there, I can’t give you a probability.”

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If you are planning a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii sometime soon, contact your hotel or tour group to find out if the eruption may affect you.

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