An explosive eruption of the Kilauea Volcano occurred shortly after sunrise Thursday morning on the Big Island of Hawaii. For weeks leading up to this event, geologists warned about this potential as lava lake levels continued to drop. They say that once lake levels reach the water table, that would cause an explosive eruption of ash and boulders. Here’s the statement regarding this explosion from the U.S. Geological Survey: “At about 4:15 this morning, an explosion from the Overlook vent within Halemaumau crater at Kilauea Volcano’s summit produced a volcanic cloud that reaches as high as 30,000 ft and drifted northeast. Continued emissions from the crater are reaching as high as 12,000 ft. At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent.”
Webcams from near the volcano show the ash filling the sky. The second webcam to the right shows thick ash and smoke filling the air.
Officials are urging people to remain indoors. This is the statement shortly after the eruption from Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency: “Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that an Explosive Eruption at Kilauea’s Summit has occurred. The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area. The wind will carry the plume toward the southeast. 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.”
USGS scientists use Ash3D computer simulations to show how far ash might travel and how much ash might fall to the ground. This graphic shows today’s simulation (May 17) for the explosive eruption at Kīlauea’s summit. https://t.co/Ds1pWnFRVw pic.twitter.com/hGCoTBon1X
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 17, 2018
Officials in Hawaii have said they don’t expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remain out of the closed national park.
Before this eruption, twenty different fissures were the main issues across eastern parts of the Big Island, seeping lava and a toxic, sulfur dioxide gas. Here’s some aerial views captured on Wednesday, just less than a day before the explosive eruption of Kilauea:
USGS volcanologist, Michelle Coombs, provided an update midday to the media. Most of the ash and falling rocks have occurred near the summit in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed for over a week due to safety concern.
This was the view of Halema‘uma‘u crater from the visitor viewing area in front of the Jaggar Muesum at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park as Kilauea erupted this morning.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for additional details.