Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano

Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano

"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". "If given the opportunity and the call most likely we will head back out".

Depending on weather conditions, the USGS said, ash might fall as far as Hilo, 30 miles (50 km) to the northeast.

Authorities warned citizens to beware of fallen utility lines and poles, and the spread of toxic gas emanating from the ash plumes.

Michelle Coombes from the US Geological Survey said while it was a powerful explosion, it was short-lived.

But he also reminded potential tourists that Big Island was still welcoming visitors.

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Activity remains high on other parts of the island as well, at least 125 shallow quakes rattled the volcano's summit and surrounding communities on Wednesday.

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. Yet for others, the explosions at Halemaumau Crater and multiple fissures and lava flows in Leilani Estates hit close to home - even if ocean and islands separate them.

The lava lake had drained from the summit crater a number of the months previous - the scenario now being repeated.

The eruption sent an ash cloud spewing more than nine thousand metres into the air and residents were put under an ash fallout alert.

HVO's warning came after an explosive eruption at 4 a.m. that day. He said he closely followed the eruption coverage the first few days, but has since tapered off. Shield volcanoes like Kilauea produce runny, basaltic lava that does not tend to erupt as dramatically as steep stratovolcanos like Mount St. Helens.

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But phreatic eruptions can still pose a deadly threat to anyone near the eruptive vent - and they are extremely hard to forecast, Poland said.

Thursday's event was, if not the huge one, then certainly a big one, researchers told further. Here, a geologist inspects cracks on the road caused by the volcano.

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

Mount Pinatubo last erupted in 1991, killing more than 350 people in what became the second-largest eruption of the 20th century.

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