USCG implements marine safety zone because of Hawaiian volcano

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has issued a safety warning to all shipping about hazards associated with the active Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

With the volcano in a high-activity phase, USCG has implemented a marine safety zone around the lava ocean entry points.

The zone covers a radius of 300 metres from the point of lava entry and is based on data from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory about lava and ejection distances over the past 30 years.

USCG also warns about localized volcano-related hazards such as hot-water scalding, steam explosions, collapsing cliff fronts and local tsunamis.

It also cautions about an unusual phenomenon called “lava haze” or “laze”, which is a corrosive mixture of hydrochloric acid gas, steam and fine glass particles.

That deadly concoction can cause lung, eye and skin irritation and even death. In 2000 two fatalities near the Kilauea coastal entry point were attributed to lava haze.

Onshore, too, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency has warned residents to stay well away from the vapour.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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