Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

Some Big Island residents had feared "the big one" after Kilauea shot anvil-sized "ballistic blocks" into the visitors' auto park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.

Authorities by afternoon said weak winds and rain meant that ash fallout from the latest eruption was largely contained in areas around the Kilauea summit.

According to the publication, the eruption was accompanied by violent explosions that darkened the skies with ash and smoke. As of Wednesday afternoon, the floor of the Kilauea caldera has dropped about 3 feet.

The town, which is nestled in a lush rainforest a few miles from the crater, is a popular overnight spot for park visitors. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory located on Hawai'i Island was the first volcano observatory in the United States and has been monitoring volcanoes, including the two most active, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, for more than a century.

The measure still must be approved by the U.S. House.

"If it's red, it's get out of Dodge", She said.

Still, ash will affect local waters for several hours, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency warned. Mazie Hirono also backed the measure.

What happened at the Hawaii volcano?

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory moved to a university campus after concerns that Kilauea could hurl big rocks.

Ash masks will be distributed today in Pahala, Volcano, Na'alehu and Kea'au, the county said in a news release.

"I would like to also remind the rest of the world as well as the rest of the state, Hawaii Island continues to be open for business", he said.

Thursday's eruption sent ash about 30,000 feet above sea level. The airline is encouraging guests to monitor their flight status for updates.

George Kourounis sits at Kilauea Hawaii in 2006 during a visit to the volcano
George Kourounis sits at Kilauea Hawaii in 2006 during a visit to the volcano

Short-term risks are higher for those with asthma and emphysema.

The National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory for the surrounding area until early evening, meaning accumulations of less than a quarter inch were expected.

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

An employee of a lodge near an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island worries about the impact on tourism. In the 1960s, an eruption at Kilauea stopped for a year and a half before the volcano suddenly resumed spewing ash.

The masks will be handed out from 1 p.m.to 7 p.m. Officials warn they won't protect against gases and vapors. Fine ash particles are generally a millimeter or less in size.

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

Fissure No. 17 northeast of Lanipuna Gardens was active but with less lava being added to the flow, said Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge at Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

Original: 5:17 a.m.

In addition to monitoring the volcano's current activity, researchers are scouring data from Kilauea's extensive monitoring network - which includes tiltmeters, seismometers, and ground and aerial gas detectors - in search of any changes that preceded this explosive event.

About 2,000 people living near the fissures spitting lava had already been evacuated.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has erupted from its summit, shooting a dusty plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky. Epic Lava tour operator John Tarson is an early-riser and said he only learned about the eruption because he received an alert on his phone. He described Thursday so far as a "nice rainy day". "We as the scientific community feel we owe it to the people being impacted to get it right and learn as much as we can", he says. More than two dozen homes have been destroyed in the neighbourhood 35 miles from Hilo, the island's largest city. For this reason, the entirety of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since last week.

"These can be quite impressive, and you certainly don't want to be in the vicinity of these explosions, but they don't have the force to sustain huge eruptions". Its last explosive eruption took place in 1924.

  • Jon Douglas