Eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano sends ash 30,000 feet into air

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. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaii Volcano Observatory

May 17 (UPI) — An early-morning eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano sent a plume of ash up to 30,000 feet into the sky Thursday, emergency officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the explosion from the Halemaumau crater happened around 4:15 a.m. on the Island of Hawai’i — also known as the Big Island. After the initial explosion, emissions continued up to 12,000 feet.

The National Weather Service issued ash fall advisories for the Big Island through 6 p.m.

“An ashfall advisory means that ash accumulation of less than one-quarter inch is expected somewhere within the advisory area,” the NWS said. “Persons with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling the ash particles and all persons outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense said northeast winds may carry the ash north toward Kau, Volcano, Mount View, Kea’au and Hilo. The agency also closed a number of nearby schools due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels.

The HVO warned the volcano could produce projectiles should steam-driven explosions occur.

On Wednesday, the USGS recorded about 125 shallow earthquakes around the volcano and nearby areas.

Eruptions at Kilauea have opened at least 20 fissures since activity began two weeks ago. Flows of lava have forced hundreds of evacuations and destroyed at least two dozen homes.


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