Hundreds of people are under an evacuation order on Friday after Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano came to life, spewing ash into the sky as fountains of lava bubbled out through the forest and on paved streets.
The volcano erupted Thursday afternoon and officials are not sure how long it will last.
If you’re travelling in the area anytime soon, here is everything Canadians need to know about the volcano eruption.
The volcano erupted after a series of earthquakes over the past few days, including a 5.0 tremor earlier in the day, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its website.
Since April 30, following the collapse of the Puu Oo crater floor, around 250 earthquakes rocked the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii. The collapse sent lava down the mountain’s slopes toward populated areas.
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Where is the volcano?
The Kilauea Volcano is one of the five on Hawaii’s Big Island — and one of the most active in the world. In fact, the volcano’s name means “spewing” in the Hawaiian language.
The volcano, which is around 300,000 to 600,000 years old, makes up the southeastern side of the island. It’s been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades.
What is the danger?
Kilauea volcano spewed lava into Leilani Estates, a subdivision of about 1,700 people near the Big Island’s eastern edge.
Volcano officials couldn’t predict how long the eruption will last, prompting Hawaii’s governor to activate the National Guard to help with evacuations in the area.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has warned that new lava outbreaks remain a possibility.
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Asta Miklius, a geophysicist with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told the Associated Press the volcano has “quite a bit of magma in the system.”
Extremely high levels of dangerous sulphur dioxide gas have been detected in the evacuation area, the Civil Defense Agency said.
What is closed?
Tourist boat rides, hiking and general tours have been suspended in the area.
Due to the possibility of a new eruption, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed off around 63 square kilometres near the Puu Oo vent. Most of the 1,348 square kilometre park remains open.
Visitors hoping to view the volcanic activity and can look at the volcano’s main crater, Halemaumau, from the Jaggar Museum overlook, according to the National Park Service.
For updates on the volcanic eruption, you can check out the County of Hawaii website.
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Are flights canceled?
Hawaiian Airlines cancelled flights to the area due to the threat of volcanic activity. However, travellers can change their reservation without being charged.
At the time of publication, flights to Hawaii from Canada have not been cancelled.
Is Canada issuing a travel warning?
The Canadian government website has not issued a travel warning for Hawaii.
— With files from Reuters