Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews huge cloud of ash

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Though the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has been erupting continuously since 1983, the eruption took a unsafe turn on May 3, 2018, when several new fissures emerged in a residential neighborhood.

"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.

"These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity", the park service said Wednesday, citing U.S. Geological Survey data.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews huge cloud of ash
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews huge cloud of ash

A pressure cooker: On May 9, scientists warned that a drop in the volcano's summit lava lake might have paved the way for an explosion that could fling ash and boulders the size of refrigerators into the air.

US Geological Survey geologist Michelle Coombs described the event as "energetic, but short-lived" and said most of the debris ejected from the crater likely fell near the explosion site. He's making sure the hundreds of evacuees that are using the shelter have food and a place to sleep, as well as any comfort they need during the stressful time.

Thursday's eruption is just the latest volcanic activity contributing to the nightmare on the Big Island since the volcano first went off on May 3. Several schools closed because of the risk of elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, a volcanic gas.

"I think it's going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that's based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog", he said of the almost century old event, which lasted 2-1/2 weeks and killed one person who was hit by a "ballistic block".

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. New radar measurements estimate the volcanic ash plume to reach 30,000 feet.

That said, a series of new eruptions are very possible, according to the USGS.

These plumes are separate from the lava eruptions happening about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from summit, where about 20 lava fissures have destroyed more than two dozen homes and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.

Earlier it was reported that in Hawaii declared the highest alert level due to increased eruption of Kilauea volcano. The Cleveland Volcano, which Murkowski mentioned in her statement, is located in the Aleutian Islands earlier this month, spewing ash 22,000 feet into the air. "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.