Volcanic Eruption In Hawaii Spews Toxic Gases, Destroys Homes

By Bill Galluccio

May 6, 2018

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday and has been wreaking havoc for residents on the big island. At least five homes have been destroyed by slow-moving lava which has also forced around 1,700 people to evacuate. 

The volcanic eruption caused numerous fissures, which are hundreds of yards long, to open up around Hawaii's most active volcano. The fissures are venting toxic sulfur gas and allowing magma to rise to the surface. People who are exposed to sulfur dioxide gas can suffer from sore throats, runny noses, burning eyes, and coughing. The gas can also cause irritation or burns if people come into contact with it. 

There are currently eight fissures and authorities warn that more could open up in the coming days. 

The island has also been rocked around 600 earthquakes, including a 6.9 magnitude quake on Friday, which was one the largest quakes to hit the island in decades. Most of the quakes were small and likely not felt by residents. Authorities expect more earthquakes in the coming days as magma bubbles up from the fissures. 

Hawaii's civil defense department ordered residents who live near the vents to evacuate immediately because "the area continues to be unstable with multiple volcanic eruptions happening." Residents were told that "no one is allowed into the area." Many are unsure when they will be able to return home.

Todd Corrigan, who lives with his wife on Hawaii's Big Island, was forced to leave on Friday when lava started approaching their home. The two spent the night on the beach before trying to find someplace to stay and said he had "no idea how soon we can get back."

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