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Hawaii volcano eruption: Explosive eruption at KilaueaUSGS

Hawaii volcano eruption: Explosive eruption at Kilauea

The United States Geographical Survey said there is an order to shelter in place.

Hawaii volcano Kilauea has erupted from its summit, sending a dusty plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky.

The USGS has alerted locals to evacuate the area, as giant rocks are sent flying into the air.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory officials confirmed that there was an explosive eruption, but they still have yet to assess whether it was a steam-driven explosion that had been previously predicted in the area. 

The state Civil Defense agency said the plume was drifting northeast and warned residents to shelter in place. Driving conditions may be dangerous due to low visibility, the agency warned. 

“At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,” the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Kilauea status page. 

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.

“Not your average wake-up call at the Kīlauea Volcano summit,” USGS noted.

Hawaii Co. Civil Defense Agency issues shelter in place alert due to spreading ash plume from an explosive eruption on Kilauea volcano's summit early Hawaii Co. Civil Defense Agency

Hawaii Co. Civil Defense Agency issues shelter in place alert due to spreading ash plume from an exp

Kilauea volcano eruption latest

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said: “This is a Civil Defense Message for May 17 at 5am. Hawaii Volcano Observatory reports that an Explosive Eruption at Kilauea’s summit has occurred. The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area. The wind will carry the plume towards the south-east. You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving, pull off the road and wait until visibility improves.”

The area southeast of Kilauea volcano’s summit is in a rural, remote part of Hawaii Island on its eastern edge, far from any major resort areas. The closest resorts, in Kona and the Kohala Coast, are more than 100 miles away on the west side of the island.

The U.S. Geological Survey posted webcam footage of an ash plume billowing from the Kilauea’s summit and a plume of ash from an observation tower.

The volcano has been threatening to erupt ever since an earthquake shattered the crater floor 14 days ago. 

The USGS website has crashed after a new eruption@USGSVolcanoes

The USGS website has crashed after a new eruption

A giant plume of ash was sent spiralling out from Kilauea's summitGETTY

A giant plume of ash was sent spiralling out from Kilauea’s summit

This image released by the US Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows lava spattering  from an area between fissures 16 and 20 at 8:20 a.m. HST from tAFP/Getty Images

This image released by the US Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows lava spattering from an area

On Wednesday, scientists from USGS had found two-foot-wide rocks that had been hurled from the summit of Kilauea, spread out from the volcano a few hundred yards from Halemaumau.

The latest volcanic activity follows a spate of earthquakes that sent a large ash cloud spiraling up into the sky. 

Dramatic images showed local Hawaiian’s taking photos as the gas spread.

Warnings that this ash could be toxic to humans prompted the USGS and the Hawaiian Civil Defense agency to issue a red alert, warning locals to seek shelter. 

More than 20 fissures had opened up in the surrounding region of Puna, particularly in the Leilani Districts, where 1,700 residents were forced to evacuate last week. 

More than 10,000 residents have so far been displaced, but yesterday’s eruption could force many more Hawaiian’s to the southeast of Kilauea to evacuate.

Crazy golfers continue to play near KilaueaGETTY

Crazy golfers continue to play near Kilauea

Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the situation remains “very, very active and very dynamic.”

She added, “The potential for larger explosions is still there.”

Geologists from the USGS say the quakes are being caused by the ongoing deflation at the summit and as lava levels continue to decline.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the floor of the Kilauea caldera has dropped about 3 feet, prompting a warning that a major eruption could be imminent.

The strongest quake to hit the area was 4.4 in magnitude, registering as one of the strongest in the area. 

Because the tremors are shallow, they cause greater shaking — and increase the potential for damage.

Employees at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and nearby residents are reporting frequent shaking, and the quakes caused several large cracks on Highway 11 along with structural damage to buildings at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A giant cloud of ash was sent out from the summit of KilaueaGETTY

A giant cloud of ash was sent out from the summit of Kilauea

The latest eruption at Kilauea comes amid worsening air quality conditions on the Big Island, and as civil defense authorities continue to respond to Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions in lower Puna, where thousands of people remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

Forecasters are warning residents that ashfall remains a threat, especially across the Ka’u District.

Thick vog (volcanic haze) is also impacting parts of the island. Authorities said the thicker vog posed no immediate threat, but that officials would continue to monitor the situation.

And more than 20 miles away in lower Puna, along Kilauea’s east rift zone, hazardous fumes and lava are continuing to pour from active fissures. In the southeast area of the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision and surrounding farm lots, the air quality level remains at condition “red,” which means anyone in the area is in immediate danger. Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for communities along with neighbouring Leilani Estates.

Lava from the volcano has been incredibly destructiveGETTY

Lava from the volcano has been incredibly destructive

Hawaiian residents in the Puna community, the home of more than 10,000 people, were ordered to evacuate at 5am yesterday morning (local time) after officials reported steam and lava emissions from a crack in the volcano.

A plume of red ash rose from the volcano’s Pu’u ‘O’o vent high into the sky over the island.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano, one of five on the island, have buried 48 square miles (125 km) in the last 14 days of activity.

The leading edge of the lava can reach temperatures of about 2,100 Fahrenheit (1,149 Celsius).

The USGS website has crashed after a new eruptionGETTY

The USGS website has crashed after a new eruption

The USGS website has crashed due to a large volume of people trying to access the latest news from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. 

They tweeted: “We are aware that livestreaming capabilities exist and that individuals are doing that via cellphones elsewhere. In order for our systems to withstand volcanic conditions & be hooked into our website, they must be more complicated than that and require special installation.

“Everyone, we know you are hungry for images & video of the explosive eruptions at the summit of #Kilauea. Our scientists are all occupied with monitoring our instrumentation (which has to take priority on limited bandwidth over streaming video) and dealing with media requests.”





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