The slow-rolling lava plumes oozing from Mt. Kilauea have, at last, shown their potential for injury. For weeks, the fissures have engulfed structures and spurred evacuations, but now the volcano is erupting with more violence. The explosions are sending lava bombs high into the air. Some are rumored to weigh as much as refrigerators.
Who knew lava could be dangerous? All of the officials on the big island of Hawaii. They know, and have been warning residents not to go near the fissures or the cone, and to stay away from areas that are within reach of the lava bombs.
Yet one man was sitting on his porch when one of these bombs came down.
The man was on a third floor balcony. The lava “hit him on the shin, and shattered everything from there down on his leg,” says spokeswoman Janet Snyder.
“The lava came from Kilauea volcano, which erupted Thursday morning on Big Island, sending ash 30,000 feet into the air and forcing residents to evacuate. The unidentified man — who is in stable condition — is believed to be the first person injured from the Kilauea eruption,” BI adds.
Talmadge Magno, a Hawaii civil defense administrator, is hoping that people begin taking the threat more seriously. These explosions send molten lava soaring through the air. Even if they cool as they travel, they can come down in the form of rock.
There are more than 23 fissures now from this one volcano. These fissures deplete the lava levels in the cone, almost like draining a bath tub. But the fissures cool, as does the remaining lava in the cone, and the molten lava beneath builds up.
This build-up creates tremendous pressure that is plugged from above by harden lava and rock that has fallen into the cone. When the pressure reaches its limit, the cone blows.
The immediate area surrounding the mountain has become a hot-spot for tourists and locals wanting to see the volcano up close, but the toxic sulfur dioxide gases, lava flows, and raining lava-bombs has made this a very treacherous place.