Volcano explosion won’t be deadly if people stay out of park – tristatehomepage gas 1981

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Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have shifted gears. She had intended to visit Kilauea’s summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter and stay in Volcano, a town a few miles from the crater. Now they’ve cancelled their trip. She’s worried potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.

In April, floods on Kauai Island made travelers nervous. Then last week, it was Kilauea volcano sending 2,200 degree (1,200 degree Celsius) lava bursting through cracks into people’s backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood. Then as Kilauea’s magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocked the Big Island.

Tina Neal, the scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, said geologists don’t expect the summit eruption to be life-threatening so long as people stay out of the national park. Volcano and other nearby communities may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash but they aren’t expected to get hit by large boulders, she said.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s decision to close Friday due to the risk of an explosive eruption will discourage travelers, said Janet Coney, the office manager at Kilauea Lodge, an inn in Volcano. The lodge, which has 12 rooms and 4 cottages, has had a handful of cancellations. Coney is anticipating more depending on what happens.

There are also further potential risks where lava has been erupting 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the crater in Leilani Estates. Scientists said the molten rock there could start moving faster if fresher, hotter magma emerges from the ground.

Neal said a chemical analysis of the lava that’s erupted since last week indicated it’s from magma that had been stored in the ground since a 1955 eruption. It’s been sluggish and somewhat cooler as a result, she said. But Kilauea could release hotter, faster-moving and more voluminous lava because magma has moving into the area from further up the volcano, she said.

The CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the agency that markets Hawaii to the world, said Kilauea is being monitored around the clock to provide the public with the best information. But George Szigeti noted that the Big Island is "immense" and there are large parts of the island unaffected by the volcano.

Like the town of Kamuela which is home to vast cattle ranches and Hawaii’s own cowboys, called paniolo. The coffee farms on the Kona side of the island, which is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from where lava is erupting. There’s also the night sky visible from the 13,803-foot (4207-meter) summit of Mauna Kea, the island’s tallest peak and the location of some of the world’s most advanced telescopes.

"We know what people are going through in Leilani Estates. And we don’t want to seem callous and inconsiderate in our messaging and our promotion of the island," he said. At the same time, tourism is the island’s biggest industry and people’s livelihoods are dependent on visitors coming, he said.

The move will make federal financial assistance available to state and local governments as they repair roads, public parks, schools and water pipes damaged by the eruption. It will also help cover costs for geologists and security personnel at roadblocks.

Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have shifted gears. She had intended to visit Kilauea’s summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter and stay in Volcano, a town a few miles from the crater. Now they’ve cancelled their trip. She’s worried potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.

In April, floods on Kauai Island made travelers nervous. Then last week, it was Kilauea volcano sending 2,200 degree (1,200 degree Celsius) lava bursting through cracks into people’s backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood. Then as Kilauea’s magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocked the Big Island.

Tina Neal, the scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, said geologists don’t expect the summit eruption to be life-threatening so long as people stay out of the national park. Volcano and other nearby communities may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash but they aren’t expected to get hit by large boulders, she said.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s decision to close Friday due to the risk of an explosive eruption will discourage travelers, said Janet Coney, the office manager at Kilauea Lodge, an inn in Volcano. The lodge, which has 12 rooms and 4 cottages, has had a handful of cancellations. Coney is anticipating more depending on what happens.

There are also further potential risks where lava has been erupting 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of the crater in Leilani Estates. Scientists said the molten rock there could start moving faster if fresher, hotter magma emerges from the ground.

Neal said a chemical analysis of the lava that’s erupted since last week indicated it’s from magma that had been stored in the ground since a 1955 eruption. It’s been sluggish and somewhat cooler as a result, she said. But Kilauea could release hotter, faster-moving and more voluminous lava because magma has moving into the area from further up the volcano, she said.

The CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the agency that markets Hawaii to the world, said Kilauea is being monitored around the clock to provide the public with the best information. But George Szigeti noted that the Big Island is "immense" and there are large parts of the island unaffected by the volcano.

Like the town of Kamuela which is home to vast cattle ranches and Hawaii’s own cowboys, called paniolo. The coffee farms on the Kona side of the island, which is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from where lava is erupting. There’s also the night sky visible from the 13,803-foot (4207-meter) summit of Mauna Kea, the island’s tallest peak and the location of some of the world’s most advanced telescopes.

"We know what people are going through in Leilani Estates. And we don’t want to seem callous and inconsiderate in our messaging and our promotion of the island," he said. At the same time, tourism is the island’s biggest industry and people’s livelihoods are dependent on visitors coming, he said.

The move will make federal financial assistance available to state and local governments as they repair roads, public parks, schools and water pipes damaged by the eruption. It will also help cover costs for geologists and security personnel at roadblocks.