A shelter in place warning has been issued after Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit, shooting a dusty plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky.
The powerful, steam-driven explosion occurred on Thursday and was expected to spew large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke from Kilauea’s crater on Hawaii’s Big Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
‘The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area. The wind will carry the plume toward the southeast,’ a warning message from the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.
A shelter in place warning has been issued after Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit on Thursday
‘You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves.’
The explosion came after two weeks of volcanic activity and the opening of more than a dozen fissures east of the crater that spewed lava into neighborhoods.
Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures.
The crater sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11.
Officials have said they didn’t expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of park.
Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. An eruption in 1924 killed one person and sent rocks, ash and dust into the air for 17 days.
It comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighborhoods. Pictured above in fissure 17 on Thursday, which is still active
Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii’s Big Island on Wednesday
Scientists warned on May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for an explosion that could fling ash and boulders the size of refrigerators into the air.
Scientists predicted it would mostly release trapped steam from flash-heated groundwater released as though it was a kitchen pressure cooker.
Communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-size fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash, they said.
Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983.
It’s one of five volcanoes that comprise the Big Island of Hawaii, and the only one currently erupting.