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Hawaii volcano spews most powerful ash plume in days

18 May, 2018, 19:09 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano

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Hawaiians have been given face masks and told to take shelter after scientists warned the Kilauea volcano, which has destroyed homes, could become more violent within hours.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday, sending ash 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) into the sky.

Dina Shisler, leader of a Community Emergency Response Team distributing "N95" particulate masks in Naalehu and Pahala, said residents downwind of Kilauea are anxious, with many wearing surgical masks as a precaution - although state Department of Health nurse Deborah Brown emphasized that such masks are no substitute for the dust masks distributed at the station.

Geophysicist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) Mike Poland said the explosion probably lasted only a few minutes and the ash accumulations were minimal, with only trace amounts expected near the volcano.

This is because Kilauea is a so-called shield volcano, which is typically broader in shape and has lava that is relatively fluid.

Volcanologists aren't expecting Kilauea's eruptions to be almost as risky, but they could still pose a threat. A number of vehicles and 37 homes have been destroyed.

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Tarson said the ash plume looked different than others he has witnessed because of its sheer height.

Authorities by afternoon said weak winds and rain meant that ash fallout from the latest eruption was largely contained in areas around the Kilauea summit. More than 30 people were killed when a 2014 phreatic eruption at Japan's Mount Ontake are not aware of the summit.

"When that happens, the groundwater gets superheated, flashes to steam and can generate big explosions", Malone said.

Scientists warned May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for a large explosion.

The National Weather Service issued an ash advisory and then extended it through early evening, and county officials distributed ash masks to area residents.

"In the old days, people used to love to come see the volcano".

Kilauea is one of five active volcanoes on the island of Hawaii.

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