A unsafe major volcanic eruption may be imminent at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

Lava threatens Hawaii exit routes and could spur more evacuations

A 20th fissure releasing lava and gases has opened on Kilauea's aspect, state officers stated on Tuesday.

USGS warns the volcano can become more explosive with little warning.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant, where steam and hot liquid are brought up through underground wells and the steam feeds a turbine generator to produce electricity.

They also warned that the lava flow from fissure 17 is moving towards the ocean at approximately 20 yards per hour.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports rock falls and gas explosions within Halemaumau Crater have caused an ash plume which is carrying ash downstream across the Kau District. The ash cloud is drifting generally west and southwest from the Kilauea summit and ashfall is occurring in the Kaʻu Desert.

More lava-belching cracks are expected to open among homes and countryside some 25 miles (40 km) east of Kilauea's smoking summit, possibly blocking one of the last exit routes, Highway 132.

Unsafe volcanic air pollution called vog has been reported nearly 20 miles away from the summit.

Hawaii issued an aviation red alert Tuesday after the Kilauea volcano spewed a plume of ash into the air, with authorities warning the volcano could become more explosive.

In Hilo, Sandra Barnes told Fox News that she'd seen the ash cloud mid-morning between Pahoa and Volcano, Hawaii.

During the call, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Steve Brantley talked about the activity going on in the two different locations. The ash cloud is now measuring up to 3650 metres in the air.

Dozens of homes have been destroyed since eruptions began 10 days ago and officials have ordered the evacuations of almost 2,000 residents in the lower Puna district of the Big Island, home to around 187,000 people.

Officials have ordered evacuations for about 2,000 people since Kilauea volcano began shooting lava into a residential neighborhood on May 3. Officials have confirmed 35 structures have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates.

The USGS previously had given an "orange" alert, indicating a major volcanic eruption may have been imminent but hazards were limited because of no or minor volcanic ash emissions.

Some homeowners believe fire coverage will suffice for homes burned by fire from the lava.

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