An explosion caused by lava spewing into the Pacific Ocean hurled molten rock into the air and into a tour boat off the eastern coast of the Island of Hawai'i on Monday, July 16, leaving at least 23 people injured. Most of the reported injuries from the explosion - linked to the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea volcano - were minor.
A "warning/orange" alert remains in effect for Kilauea as of July 16, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, indicating that a major volcanic eruption is "imminent, underway, or suspected" but only poses limited hazards to aviation because of minor or nonexistent volcanic-ash emissions. Additional lava eruptions are expected at Kilauea and the East Rift Zone in the coming days. Consequent transportation disruptions and evacuations are possible in affected areas in the near-term.
Residents on the Island of Hawai'i near the ongoing eruptions have been told to be prepared to evacuate on short notice; thousands of people have already been evacuated in recent months. Several earthquakes have shaken the area since Kilauea's initial eruption on May 3. Lava has damaged and destroyed power and telephone lines, causing associated power outages and communications disruptions.
Most of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 as a precaution. US President Donald Trump has declared a state of major disaster in Hawaii, making federal funding available for recovery operations.
Individuals in Hawaii are advised to avoid areas affected by the volcanic eruptions, monitor the situation, and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). An up-to-date map of recent lava flows can be found here from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
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