Hawaii volcano erupts anew, sends huge ash plume into sky

Hawaii volcano erupts anew, sends huge ash plume into sky

The ash plume rose as high as 30,000 feet and drifted northeast over the Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii County officials and the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighbourhoods.

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.

On Thursday, the volcano spewed ash almost six miles (9km) into the sky.

Some Big Island residents had feared "the big one" after Kilauea shot anvil-sized "ballistic blocks" into the visitors' auto park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week. This generated an impressive ash plume that looks like thick rain.

"It's just time to go - it really, really is", she said, preparing to leave town.

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The National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory for the Big Island after Kilauea Volcano erupted Thursday morning, meaning up to a quarter inch of ash could fall in affected areas. Pahala is the closest town west of the summit crater. Eruptions are expected to continue over the coming days.

But those events were "not the big one" caused by interactions between hot rock and ground water, Coombs said Tuesday.

About 2,000 people have been evacuated.

It was not the big blast scientists have been warning could come from the crater any time, and that threat - of an explosion that could produce flying boulders the size of cows - remained unchanged late Thursday.

The worldwide airports in Hilo and Kona are open, officials said. In May 1924, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory reported more than 50 explosive events over the course of two-and-a-half weeks at the volcano's summit. The eventual eruptions generated ash clouds more than five miles (8 km) high and threw blocks weighing as much as 28,000 pounds (12,700 kg) out of the crater. 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.

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