It seemed things at Hawaii’s Kilauea Voclano were calming down just a bit Wednesday night, but then an explosive eruption from the volcano’s summit crater sent volcanic ash up to 30,000 feet into the atmosphere at around 4:15 a.m. local time Thursday.
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency says people should shelter in place if possible as the ash plume is expected to spread to the southeast, creating difficult driving conditions.
— USGS Volcanoes (@USGSVolcanoes) May 17, 2018
The National Weather Service has issued an ashfall advisory for the vicinity of Kilauea.
“An explosion from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit produced a volcanic cloud that reaches as high as 30,000 ft (above sea level) and drifted northeast,” reads the latest update from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. “Continued emissions from the crater are reaching as high as 12,000 ft (above sea level). At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent. “
Authorities say winds could carry ash as far as the city of Hilo on the island’s east coast.
A number of schools in the area have been closed for the day due to high levels of sulfur dioxide gas.
Even prior to the early morning eruption, most staff at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park near the summit had been evacuated and the area was under an aviation red alert due to earlier ash belches from the volcano.
Kilauea has been erupting for nearly two weeks, but much of the activity has been centered away from the main crater in the eastern rift zone where over 20 fissures have opened in the earth, resulting in lava flows that have destroyed three dozen structures and forced 2,000 from their homes in Puna.
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