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The Explosion Geologists Feared From Hawaii's Volcano Has Just Happened

18 May, 2018, 15:44 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the explosion within Kilauea's Halemaumau crater - the biggest since May 3, when the volcano became more active - produced a volcanic cloud that reached as high as 30,000 feet (9,000 meters) and was drifting downwind to the northeast. An eruption in 1924 killed one person and sent rocks, ash and dust into the air for 17 days.

The US Geological Survey warns that more explosions are expected and could be more powerful. Mr Poland said the explosion probably only lasted a few minutes.

The crater sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11 in preparation for an eruption.

Hawaii News Now reports that "residents say volcanic haze across lower Puna is so thick it resembles fog, making visibility very low in some areas".

The Arizona guard members helped Hawaii residents who lost their homes because of the fissures and lava covering and destroying their neighborhoods.

The National Weather Service issuing an ashfall advisory for parts of the big island, saying ash accumulations less than one quarter of an inch were possible.

Time lapse images taken from a camera at the Gemini Telescope on the Big Island captured the eruption plume just before sunrise. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday's plume. On the other hand, stratovolcanoes - which include Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines and Mount St. Helens in Washington State - are usually taller and have more viscous lava flows with trapped gas that can generate volatile explosions.

Scientists can not say why the eruption is happening now, given that Kilauea has been active for 35 years. Shield volcanoes like Kilauea produce runny, basaltic lava that does not tend to erupt as dramatically as steep stratovolcanos like Mount St. Helens.

Kilauea's falling lava lake has likely descended to a level at or below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of its lava column and create steam-driven blasts, they said.

Thursday's event was, if not the huge one, then certainly a big one, researchers told further.

The masks do not protect against sulfur dioxide, a toxic gas that is still seeping from 21 fissures caused by volcanic activity.

Phreatic eruptions are "much more random", Poland said.

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

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