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New volcanic fissure in Hawaii opens; brings total to 19

By Sommer Brokaw
Government officials confirmed a new fissure on Monday since eruptions in the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano continue after the Big Island being hit earlier this month by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful on the island since 1975 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Photo by USGS/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/84bc18c244680e793e0bdf34591234a4/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Government officials confirmed a new fissure on Monday since eruptions in the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano continue after the Big Island being hit earlier this month by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful on the island since 1975 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Photo by USGS/UPI | License Photo

May 14 (UPI) -- Hawaii County Civil Defense officials reported a new fissure opening on Monday, bringing the total number of fissures in the volcanic eruption outbreak to 19.

The new fissure is the latest in a series of fissure eruptions spewing out lava and toxic gas and causing shock in lower Puna amid ongoing seismic activity.

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Government officials also said that fissure No. 17, the most voluminous at about a 1,000-feet long, which claimed at least one structure, was still active on Monday, but no homes or roads were impacted.

Fissure No. 17 produced spattering and degassing with no consistent flow. It opened over the weekend on the Big Island about 100 feet from Fissure No. 16, which spewed lava for about 250 yards.

Fissure No. 18 on Sunday also produced lava flow and fumes, Civil Defense officials said, raising fear of more evacuations.

A series of earthquakes have rattled the Big Island since May 3, prompting the volcanic eruptions.

The eruption damage resulted in a major disaster declaration Friday to clear the way for federal funding assistance. The eruptions have forced thousands of evacuations and burned through 37 structures, including 27 homes.

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