The national park surrounding the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea was closed late Thursday, fearing that the steam that accumulates inside does not end up blowing up the mountain.
Such an explosion could throw rocks, big and small, several kilometers in the air, and “all that goes up eventually down,” said an expert from the US government, Charles Mandeville.
He added that we do not want to end up on the trajectory of a 10-tonne object that was catapulted to nearly 135 mph.
An explosive eruption could shut down Big Island’s two airports and release water vapor and toxic sulphurous gases.
The volcano spews lava for two weeks. Some 2000 people were forced to evacuate and about thirty houses were destroyed. A geothermal plant is also threatened.
Mr. Mandeville recalled that Kilauea has been the scene of explosive eruptions on at least six occasions over the centuries. The danger zone encompasses a radius of five kilometers around the summit.