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Tourists Stream To Hawaii To Watch Volcanoes

Visitors have been flocking to witness the spectacular eruption at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, despite explosions and toxic fumes. Nearly 9,000 people a day are touring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on average so far this year, which is a 2.5 percent increase over last year. Viewers can see the plume of ash and sulfur dioxide rising from Halemaumau Crater, which spewed small blobs of lava that fell along its rim this week and exploded gas and gravel-sized rocks on the summit last week. This is the first such burst from Kilauea's main crater since 1924. The fresh lava collides with the ocean creating a large area of steam. A new lookout point allows viewers to get about 600 feet from the lava flow. The highly concentrated levels of sulfur dioxide could pose serious health risks, especially to people with existing respiratory problems. State health officials say the gas has not posed serious problems so far because it is blowing more toward the ocean.


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