Hawaii volcano Kilauea has been intensifying this week and has rocketed an ash cloud 30,000 feet into the sky, according to Associated Press.
The plume of ash will cover the surrounding areas and residents have been advised to take shelter, by the USGS.
The Hawaii County Civil Defence 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.”
A red alert had been issued after ash and volcanic smoke rose to 12,000 feet above the volcano’s crater earlier this week.
Hawaii Fire Department had said air quality was still condition red – meaning immediate danger to health – and urged nearby residents to take action to limit further exposure.
A fire department spokesman said: “Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe.
“Sulphur dioxide gas from fissures is especially dangerous for elderly, children and babies and people with respiratory problems.
“The residents of Puna are going through a very difficult time. County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation.”
Residents have also been warned by the volcanic observatory to try to avoid contact with the volcanic ash which could also cause breathing difficulties.
A spokesman said: “The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports a steady eruption of ash coming from Halemaumau Crater is causing ash to fall downwind across portions of Kau District.
“Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant. Those with breathing issues should take extra precaution to minimise exposure. Motorists are advised to drive with caution.”
Ash is not poisonous but irritates the nose, eyes and airways. It can make roads slippery and large emissions could cause the failure of electrical power lines, said USGS chemist David Damby.
Around 1,700 people have already been ordered to leave their homes after lava spewed into neighbourhoods destroying over 30 homes and damaging hundreds more.
Geologists had warned the volcano could erupt violently shooting an ash cloud into the skyline.
Speaking on Wednesday morning just before 6am in Hawaii, Marci Gonzalez, an ABC News reporter told Sky News: “We are still seeing those huge plumes of ash billowing into the air, as high as 12,000 feet.
“Geologists expect that this will be the start of what is a continuous phase of ash eruptions like this. They believe it could be a lead up to a massive steam explosion that they have been predicting for about a week.
“The other concern from this steam explosion they’re expecting could happen, is even bigger ash plumes, we’re seeing 12,000 feet up, they’re saying the ash plumes could go to 20,000 feet into the air.
“The concern is, depending on wind direction, the ash could be carried over communities.”