Geological Survey (USGS) after the scientific agency of the United States government reported that volcanic activity at Kilauea on Hawaii Island continues to worsen, with an ash cloud growing as high as 10,000 to 12,000 feet.
Since May 3, residents of Hawaii's Big Island have been struggling with the fallout from the recent and ongoing eruption of the Kilauea volcano.
A massive plume of volcanic ash burst from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Tuesday, prompting authorities to issue warnings about air quality and the likelihood of a major eruption. A red alert was issued by the U.S. Geological Survery of a possible eruption.
A geophysicist says a plume that's rising from the Kilauea volcano summit on Hawaii's Big Island does not contain as much ash as it did on Tuesday. (The most recent one opened on Tuesday.) The air quality is deemed unsafe to health in some areas due to the release of sulfur dioxide from the fissures.
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"At any time, activity may become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent", the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said in a statement on the change in aviation alert level from orange to red.
Residents on parts of the Big Island have been scrambling to react to increased volcanic activity on Kilauea for almost three weeks now, ever since the floor of the Puu Oo Crater, on the volcano's East Rift Zone, collapsed on April 30.
Scientists had expected such explosions by the middle of this month as Kilauea's lava lake fell below the water table. But the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Tuesday that there is no evidence suggesting an quake that would generate a tsunami. To the east of the summit, toxic gas emanating from steaming gashes around 25 miles (40 km) toward the coast added to the danger facing residents, whose escape routes are threatened with closure because of lava flows, officials said.
On Tuesday, officials said activity at Fissure 17, the biggest one so far, had slowed overnight.
Scorching lava has already swallowed dozens of homes and vehicles.