Ash fallout' alert after Hawaii volcano erupts in 30000-foot plume

Geneva Stokes
May 18, 2018

The crater sits within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11.

An explosive eruption at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Thursday created an enormous ash plume that prompted the closure of schools and forced residents to remain indoors as a light ash rained over the surrounding area on the eastern edge of the island. People have been warned to protect themselves from ash fallout.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that that the explosive eruption at Kilauea summit occurred at 4:17 a.m. Agency officials said the wind may carry the resulting ash plume north toward Kau, Volcano, Mountain View, Kea'au and as far as Hilo.

The explosion did not pose an immediate threat to people in the vicinity, scientists said Thursday, but Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey who was based at Kilauea from 2005 to 2015, warned of more activity.

Two astronauts also reported being able to see an ash plume from the volcano from space earlier this week.

The US Geological Survey said the rocks and large pieces of splatter reached a height of 500 feet.

After several weeks of lava spewing from various fissures, Big Island's Kilauea volcano has erupted.

"Our shelters are set up so we're not downwind from where the gasses are", he said.

Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano eruption launches plume of ash 9100 metres into the sky

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.

"A volcanic eruption is a big deal, but the world isn't ready to come to an end down here", he said.

Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea, such as the village of Volcano, which was expected to receive a 1/32 of an inch (0.8 millimeters) dusting of ash, according to USGS estimates.

Hoyt, who also happens to be the mayor pro tem of Walsenburg, is one of two Red Cross volunteers now in Hawaii. It caught sight of an explosive eruption on Thursday morning at Kilauea's summit.

What is happening at Kilauea is fundamentally is dissimilar from that 1980 eruption, experts told. He explained from time to time he can feel the rumblings from the active volcano.

The volcano erupted on Thursday morning and molten rock has been spewing out since then.

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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