A man had his leg injured by spitting lava in what was the first known serious injury that was reported from fresh explosive eruptions from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.
The man was on a third-floor balcony when he was hit by lava spatter that shattered his leg from his shin to his foot, said Janet Snyder, a spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii.
Snyder revealed that lava spatters ‘can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill’. No other information was immediately available.
As magma destroyed four more homes, molten rock from two huge cracks merged into a single stream, threatening to block other escape routes and touching off brush fires.
Brittany Kimball watches as lava erupts from from a fissure near Pahoa, Hawaii on Saturday. Two fissures that opened up in a rural Hawaii community have merged to produce faster and more fluid lava
Clouds glow orange-red above a lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii’s Big Island on Saturday night
Lava from Kilauea volcano lights up the evening sky near Pahoa, Hawaii. The first known serious injury from the lava was reported this weekend after a man’s leg was shattered by spitting lava
The erupting lava, which can reach a blistering 2,000 degrees F, crossed Highway 137 shortly before midnight and sent lava flowing into the ocean.
That prompted warnings of laze – clouds of hydrochloric acid and steam embedded with fine glass particles formed when hot lava hits ocean water.
On Sunday authorities attempted to open up a road that was blocked by lava in 2014 to serve as an alternative escape route, Jessica Ferracane of the National Park Service told reporters.
The park service is working to bulldoze almost a mile of hardened lava out of the way on nearby Highway 11, which has been impassable, she added.
The Hawaii National Guard has warned of mandatory evacuations if more roads become blocked.
A lava fountain from a Kilauea volcano fissure erupts, while forming a new cone, on Hawaii’s Big Island. Lava spatters can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill
Lava from Kilauea volcano lights up the night sky near Pahoa. On Sunday officals warned of laze – clouds of hydrochloric acid and steam embedded with fine glass particles formed when hot lava hits ocean water
The moon is seen behind clouds glowing orange-red above a lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii’s Big Island
Officials went house-to-house in the area to urge more residents to flee, though no head count of the new evacuation was available early Sunday.
For weeks, geologists have warned that hotter, fresher magma from Kilauea’s summit would run underground and emerge some 25 miles east in the lower Puna district, where older, cooler lava has already destroyed 44 homes and other structures.
‘Summit magma has arrived,’ US Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall told reporters. ‘There is much more stuff coming out of the ground and its going to produce flows that will move much further away.’
Fountains of bright orange lava were seen spouting at least 20-feet high, and spewing rivers of molten rock on Saturday.
Carolyn Pearcheta, operational geologist at the Hawaii Volcano Authority, told reporters that hotter and more viscous lava could be on the way, with fountains spurting as high as 600 feet.
Lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure erupts on Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday. Officials have been going house-to-house in the area to urge more residents to flee
People watch ash erupt from the Halemaumau Crater near the community of Volcano during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano on Friday
‘We’ve seen the clearing out of the system,’ she said. ‘We call that the “throat clearing” phase.’
Another large explosive eruption occurred around midnight at the volcano’s summit, sending up a nearly two-mile-high ash plume, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Scientists expect a series of eruptions from Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, that could spread ash and volcanic smog across the Big Island, the southernmost of the Hawaiian archipelago.
That could pose a hazard to aircraft if it blows into their routes at around 30,000 feet.
Around 2,000 residents of Leilani Estates and Laipuna Gardens housing areas near Pahoa, about 30 miles south of Hilo, were ordered to evacuate due to at least 22 volcanic cracks that have opened.
Many thousands more residents have voluntarily left their homes due to life-threatening levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas spewing from vents in the volcanic fissures.
A US Geological Survey geologist inspects a recent Lava flow from a Kilauea volcano fissure on Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday
Many thousands more residents have voluntarily left their homes due to life-threatening levels of toxic sulfur dioxide gas spewing from vents in the volcanic fissures
Startling aerial images taken on Saturday revealed the devastation that has been caused by the lava.
One picture shows lava rushing towards a home in Pahoa after consuming another moments before.
Kilauea had begun to spew lava up to 200 feet in the air and fire out lava bombs the size of refrigerators on Friday, as scientists discovered fresh lava had begun to boil over and make its way out.
Fresh lava moves faster and spreads further than old lava. Previously the magma spurting from Kilauea had been stored in the volcano from a previous eruption in 1955.
Four more homes were consumed by the magma on Saturday morning after lava spread 1,000 feet in less than an hour, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Center said.
Pictured: Flames surround what remains of a home in Pahoa (left) after it was covered in lava, as the stream rushes towards another home
Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been erupting for more than two weeks now, with locals subject to the sounds of near-constant explosions
Multiple fissures are actively spurting and fountaining out lava, which is moving faster now the older magma has been cleared
Other streams of lava were travelling at speeds of up to 900 feet an hour.
The volcano has been erupting for more than two weeks now, and has coated more than 325 hectares of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens in lava.
Edwin Montoya, who lives with his daughter on her farm near the site where lava crossed the road and cut off access on Saturday, said the fissure opened and grew quickly.
‘It was just a little crack in the ground, with a little lava coming out,’ he said. ‘Now it’s a big crater that opened up where the small little crack in the ground was.’
In the hardest-hit areas of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, at least 325 acres of land has been covered by lava
The apocalyptic scene has resulted in more than 2000 evacuations from residential areas, and those remaining have been given gas masks to help protect them from the toxic fumes coming out of Kilauea
For the most part, the USGS reported the lava was moving at about 300 yards an hour on Saturday
At one point, lava from two cracks formed into one stream and traveled 1,000 feet in less than an hour
A daily report from the United States Geographical Survey suggests the volcanic activity has become markedly worse in the past two days.
Scientists are so far unable to predict when the volcano will quiet, but a similar event in 1955 lasted 88 days.
‘We have no way of knowing whether this is really the beginning or toward the end of this eruption,’ Tom Shea, a volcanologist at the University of Hawaii told Associated Press on Friday.
‘We’re kind of all right now in this world of uncertainty.’
New lava forming at the summit of Kilauea is expected to spread further and come out faster, which could threaten the homes of 2,000 people and close off key exit routes
Scientists are so far unable to predict when the volcano will quiet, but a similar event in 1955 lasted 88 days
With the intensity of Kilauea’s eruption increasing, officials are warning residents to heed evacuation warnings
As of Friday, Hawaii County officials had distributed about 2,000 N95 gas masks to help protect locals from high levels of sulphur dioxide and ash in the air