Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Hawaii volcano erupts anew, residents urged to shelter

Hawaii volcano erupts anew, residents urged to shelter

Geologists had warned explosive eruptions could begin once Kilauea's falling lava lake descended below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of the lava column and create a steam-driven blasts.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said northeast winds may carry the ash north toward Kau, Volcano, Mount View, Kea'au and Hilo.

"An ashfall advisory means that ash accumulation of less than one-quarter inch is expected somewhere within the advisory area", the NWS said.

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

"I got the call to come out Monday morning", said Dennis Hoyt, who lives in Walsenbur.

In the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, a webcam caught the consequences of the short-lived eruption: an onslaught of wet, dusty ash raining on a darkened landscape.

Scientists are warning this morning's explosive eruption on the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be the first of many.

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The pictures, from Tuesday, were taken before thousands of residents on Hawaii's Big Island were ordered to flee the area after an alert was raised over an "explosive eruption" - not seen since 2014.

There are occasional bursts of ash coming from the crater causing ash to fall downwind to several communities, though there are only trace amounts, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders the size of cows from the summit.

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. No new fissures, or vents in the ground, opened Thursday, he said. After the initial explosion, emissions continued up to 12,000 feet.

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

High levels of sulfur dioxide forcing more schools in the Puna area to close because of the air quality. Eye and respiratory irritants with low-level impacts for most people. There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption. It's among the five volcanoes that form the Big Island, and it's the only one actively erupting.

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