Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

A U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist described the pre-dawn explosive eruption at the summit of Kilauea as "short-lived" and not having a "widespread impact".

She said: "We could have additional events like this morning that punch up then die down really quickly, we could have more sustained ash coming out of Halema'uma'u". People have been warned to protect themselves from ash fallout.

The volcanic eruptions on Hawaii's Big Island have been escalating for about two weeks, severely damaging nearby residential neighborhoods.

Officials who compare this to the events that took place in 1924 are suspecting that the volcanic activity will continue to happen.

The crater sits within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11.

The eruption of Kilauea began on May 3. Geologists said the result would likely release trapped steam rather than lava, similar to the explosions at Kilauea in 1925.

Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

Linda Ugalde, a 20-year resident of Volcano, said she heard and felt nothing, but stepped outside of her home at the Volcano Golf Course subdivision about 10 minutes after the alert to find a film of dark gray ash coating the railing on her lanai and the plants in her garden and yard. "It's not going to be the only one".

About 20 fissures opened in communities alongside the volcano's eastern slopes, prompting evacuations of almost 2,000 inhabitants and engulfing dozens of homes in lava.

Even before Thursday morning's explosive eruption, the ash plume from the volcano could be seen from the International Space Station.

The experts of the US Geological Survey issued a red danger code, which means that there is an ash cloud in the air. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday's plume.

In the village of Volcano, barely three miles from the summit, lifelong resident Lance Benevides went through the familiar protocol to cope with an eruption, including detaching his roof gutters from his water tank to keep ash out of the catchment system that serves as his water supply.

The immediate risk health risk comes from ash particles in the air, said Dr. Josh Green, a state senator who represents part of the Big Island. Authorities have confirmed the fissure is the 16th to open.

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