New threats in Hawaii as lava from the Kilauea Volcano hits the ocean

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volcanoAlarm and danger are high in Hawaii as lava from the Kilauea Volcano, crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean.

Laze — a mashup of “lava” and “haze” — which forms when hot lava hits the ocean, sending hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air poses a serious threat to the Hawaiian residents.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said that laze, which can cause lung, eye and skin irritation has proven deadly in the past. This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows.

Officials are warning people to stay away from areas where lava meets the ocean. But further inland, residents have other problems.The HVO also reported sulfur dioxide emissions have tripled.

Because of lava entering the ocean, the US Coast Guard enforced a Lava Entry Safety Zone Sunday for the navigable waters around the Kilauea Volcano. A Coast Guard news release says the safety zone includes all waters extending about 300 meters around the entry of the lava flow.

“All waterway users should be aware of the hazardous conditions associated with such an event. Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon, waterways management lead for the Coast Guard’s Honolulu sector.

Sources : CNN, HVO

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