(21 May 2018) White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii on Sunday as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago.
Authorities on Sunday warned the public to stay away from the toxic steam cloud, which is formed by a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater.
Further upslope, lava continued to gush out of large cracks in the ground that formed in residential neighbourhoods in a rural part of the Big Island.
The molten rock formed rivers that bisected forests and farms as it meandered toward the coast.
The rate of sulphur dioxide gas shooting from the ground fissures tripled, leading Hawaii County to repeat warnings about air quality.
At the volcano's summit, two explosive eruptions unleashed clouds of ash, much of which was carried by winds toward the south-west.
Scientists said the steam clouds at the spots where lava entered the ocean were laced with hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles that can irrigate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems.
The lava haze, or "laze," from the plume spread as far as 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of where the lava met the ocean on the Big Island's southern coast.
It was just offshore and running parallel to the coast, said US Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall.
Scientists say they don't know how long the eruption will last.

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