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Explosive eruption in Hawaii prompts ashfall advisory

17 May 2018, 10:24 | Taylor George

Ash falling from the plume can be seen just to the right side the plume. Click to enlarge

Ash falling from the plume can be seen just to the right side the plume. Click to enlarge

People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

"As deflation continues, strong earthquakes in the area around Kilauea Volcano's summit are expected to continue and may become more frequent".

Volcanic ash is expected to reach the region to the southwest and west of the Kilauea Volcano Summit (Halemaumau Crater), including cities of Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates, the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

What kind of volcano is Kilauea?

Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey, confirmed the explosion and said people needed to shelter in place.

The steam-driven explosion occurred within Halema'uma'u Crater at Kilauea's summit at about 4:17 a.m. local time, and few Big Island residents were out and about.

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Ash is a new hazard for Hawaii's Big Island, already grappling with volcanic gas and lava that has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents from a small area in the southeast Puna district. It looked like it was a steam and ash plume.

A 4.2 magnitude quake at the volcano at 8.36 a.m. prompted authorities to issue an alert reassuring rattled Big Island residents that there was no risk of a tsunami from the volcanic activity. "They didn't hear it", Ms Aton said. He said he's lost hundreds of reservations and had just three guests Thursday instead of the 12 to 14 he has typically served. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaii National Park staff members were evacuated ahead of the eruption, according to the USGS. Wednesday afternoon, open pits or "vents" of lava roared and threw cinder-like ash into the surrounding jungle, igniting smoldering forest fires.

People have been told to shelter after a huge volcanic eruption in Hawaii.

Scientists Michelle Coombs said at a morning news conference at Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo that the event, which sent a cloud of ash and smoke up to 30,000 feet high, was "consistent with what we were thinking might happen".

Officials at the USGS have said that they expect to publish a report on the volcano's activity soon and that the eruption occurred too early in the morning to be captured by video footage.



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