Hawaii Volcano Spurs New Worry: Risk of 'Vog'

Kilauea may force more mass evacuations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2018 1:35 AM CDT
Hawaii Eruption Threatens New Areas
Steam and gas rise along the edge of Kilauea's summit crater in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Thursday, May 10, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The ongoing eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is creating new worries for residents—including the risk of "vog," or volcanic smog. Big Island residents have been warned that a change in the wind is expected to increase the risk of vog, which contains potentially deadly sulfur dioxide gas, Reuters reports. Gov. David Ige has warned that more mass evacuations will be needed as new cracks in the ground send lava and toxic gas into new neighborhoods near the volcano. Ige has asked President Trump to declare a disaster in the state so that federal money can be used in the event of large-scale evacuations by air and sea, the AP reports.

Forecasters say Big Island residents are likely to face higher levels of sulfur dioxide Friday, which is especially dangerous for children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Trade winds are expected to ease conditions by Saturday morning. Amid fears that the volcano, one of the world's most active, could erupt explosively, flammable pentane has been removed from a geothermal plant near two neighborhoods that had to be evacuated because of lava and gas. Kilauea is surrounded by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which closed Thursday night until further notice. Scientists had warned that if the volcano erupts, park visitors within a mile or so of the crater were at risk of being hit by refrigerator-sized boulders. (Read more Kilauea stories.)

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