Kilauea continues to cause serious damage to southern Hawaii, displacing thousands of locals as lava pours into residential areas.
The Hawaii volcano has been almost continuously erupting for more than 35 years but recent earthquake activity has destroyed the crater floor, spewing toxic gas and lava out into the region of Puna.
Hawaiian authorities have evacuated the Leilani Estates due to several fissures opening up in the area but the Hawaiian Civil Defense has continued to widen the evacuation area as more fissures open.
Now another large scale explosive eruption could be imminent in Kilauea, sending plumes of ash out across the state.
Is volcanicash poisonous?
Generally speaking, volcanic ash can be toxic and quite harmful to human.
According to the National Geographic, volcanic ash is made up of tiny rock and mineral particles, making it much harder and coarser than ash from burning wood.
Volcanic ash is described as looking and feeling like grains of sand, containing small glass fragments from the super hot, expanding rock when a volcano erupts.
Volcanic eruptions are so forceful that ash plumes can be send hundreds of miles away from the volcano crater.
These giants plumes can often be accompanied by thunder and lightning, though scientist are still unsure why this phenomenon occurs.
Dramatic footage of giant, dark clouds flickering with lightning make an eruption look extremely menacing from afar, but toxic gases could prove more of a concern for locals.
Strong winds can pick up the floating particles and disperse them far away from the initial eruption.
National Geographic says: “Carbon dioxide and fluorine, gases that can be toxic to humans, can collect in volcanic ash.
“The resulting ash fall can lead to crop failure, animal death and deformity, and human illness. Ash’s abrasive particles can scratch the surface of the skin and eyes, causing discomfort and inflammation.
“If inhaled, volcanic ash can cause breathing problems and damage the lungs. Inhaling large amounts of ash and volcanic gases can cause a person to suffocate.
“Suffocation is the most common cause of death from a volcano.”
Recent activity at he Kilauea volcano this morning has sent ash and volcanic smog spiralling 12,000 feet into the air, showering cars on Highway 11 with gray dust and prompting an “unhealthy air” advisory in the community of Pahala, 18 miles from the summit.
An aviation red alert means a volcanic eruption is under way that could spew ash along aircraft routes, the US Geological Survey (USGS) says on its website.
A shift in winds was expected to bring ash and vog inland Wednesday and make them more concentrated, said John Bravender of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“We’re observing more or less continuous emission of ash now with intermittent, more energetic ash bursts or plumes,” Steve Brantley, a deputy scientist in charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), said.