'Explosive' Eruption At Hawaii Volcano Sends Ash 30000 Feet In The Sky

Frederick Owens
May 18, 2018

The USGS issued a new volcanic activity notice Thursday morning, saying the ash cloud from the most recent explosion reached as high as 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) and that the volcano could produce more ballistic projectiles at any time.

Scientists are predicting an eruption that shot ash almost 9 kilometres into the sky could be the first of a series of powerful explosions to rock Hawai'i's Kilauea volcano, reports SBS News.

Scientists warned on May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for an explosion that could fling ash and boulders the size of refrigerators into the air. Eruptions involving magma offer warning signs for a potential evacuation, that is consists of the inflation of the surrounding ground, seismic activity caused rocks break and changes in the gases being vented.

It's one of five volcanoes that comprise the Big Island of Hawaii, and the only one now erupting. Residents say the haze across the area is so thick it resembles fog, with visibility extremely low in some areas.

"It's just time to go - it really, really is", she said, preparing to leave town.

Coombs called the 4:17 a.m. eruption as the "the biggest so far" at the summit and that it may have relieved pressure temporarily in the caldera at Halemaumau Crater.

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Around 2,000 masks for protection were handed out on Hawaii as people living near Kilauea volcano braced for pulverised rock, glass and crystal to rain down on them after an eruption at the peak's summit.

Though disruptive, even painful for people living near Kilauea - especially those who have already lost their homes - the eruption will not significantly affect life on the rest of the Big Island, Poland said. Eruptions are expected to continue over the coming days. "So a big event that got people's attention but not with widespread impacts", Michelle Coombes said.

Its last explosive eruption took place in 1924.

"This morning it smelled like sulfur so we had to close all the windows", Ms Magnani said. On the other hand, stratovolcanoes - which include Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines and Mount St. Helens in Washington State - are usually taller and have more viscous lava flows with trapped gas that can generate volatile explosions.

Phreatic eruptions are "much more random", Poland said.

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