Hawaii Volcano Summit Erupts, Residents Urged to Take Shelter

Hawaii Volcano Summit Erupts, Residents Urged to Take Shelter

Hawaii Volcano Summit Erupts, Residents Urged to Take Shelter

The volcano, one of the most active in the world, has already destroyed dozens of homes since its latest eruption began.

The summit explosion of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano created booming sounds in the nearby town of Pahoa and resident Toby Hazel says she's had enough and is preparing to leave town.

Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983.

HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Steam rises from an empty Pu’u ‘O’o Wednesday morning
HOLLYN JOHNSON Tribune-Herald Steam rises from an empty Pu’u ‘O’o Wednesday morning

"Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that an explosive eruption at Kilauea's Summit has occurred", County of Hawaii Civil Defence said in a phone alert.

On Wednesday, May 16, the volcano dispersed a toxic cloud that reached 12,000 feet up in the air, leading to the declaration of code red to warn the aviation industry against flying over the island for its possible eruption anytime soon.

Everybody usually stationed near the volcano had been evacuated, the USGS said.

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The steam-driven explosion occurred within Halema'uma'u Crater at Kilauea's summit at about 4:17 a.m. local time, and few Big Island residents were out and about. Instead, it could be similar to the events that happened in 1924 when Kilauea released rocks on the crater floor and expelled columns as high as 20,000 feet. This afternoon the summit blew, sending up a huge plume of ash 30,000 feet into the sky.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says the strongest shaking was recorded around 8:30 a.m., measured as a 4.4-magnitude natural disaster, and earthquakes are expected to continue.

Tarson said the ash plume looked different than others he's witnessed because of its sheer height. "They didn't hear it", Ms Aton said. The volcano began erupting almost two weeks ago, and scientists say there's potential for larger eruptions to come.

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Officials have said they didn't expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of park.

This type of eruption has the potential to carpet the Big Island in much thicker ash than current dustings and possibly spread the powder and volcanic smog across the Hawaiian islands and farther afield if it enters the stratosphere.

USGS geologists and staff were evacuated from the summit shortly before the blast and a webcam showed a gray plume of ash and chunks of magma known as pyroclasts that showered the volcano's slopes.

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