Kilauea Spews Boulders in 5-Mile-High Eruption

A webcam image of the Kilauea volcano's Thursday eruption from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Explosive eruption at Hawaii volcano

A USGS update on Wednesday describes "dense ballistic blocks" and warns, "Additional such explosions are expected and could be more powerful".

Scientists reported an "explosive eruption" at the summit of Kilauea volcano shortly before 4:20 a.m. today that ejected a large plume of ash in the air, and authorities urged residents in the path of the ash to shelter in place. He has gas masks to protect himself from the toxic fumes and ash.

After several weeks of lava spewing from various fissures, Big Island's Kilauea volcano has erupted. Mr Poland said the explosion probably only lasted a few minutes.

Ash emerges from the Pu'u O'o vent on the Kilauea volcano last week

"We've had reports of light ash fall in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park and we expect that folks may be experiencing trace ash fall around Volcano Village", Michelle Coombs, a volcanologist at the US Geological Survey, told reporters at a daily briefing.

Officials have said the eruption isn't likely to be risky as long as people stay out of the closed park. Communities a mile or two away could be showered by pea-size fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash, they said.

"I don't think there is a big one that's coming", said University of Hawaii vulcanologist Scott Rowland. "I think it's going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that's based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog".

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On Thursday, a 21st fissure also opened in Leilani Estates while other fissures reactivated with lava, the Hawaii Civil Defense said in an alert.

Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures. The agency also closed a number of nearby schools due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels.

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

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It maintained an aviation ban with a code red. Passenger jets generally cruise at around 30,000 feet, the height of Thursday's plume.

The volcano on the Big Island exploded at about 6am.

This was the main concern for the sinking molten rock which can create steam as it interacted with the water table and that the steam can be jet upward, hurling heavy rocks and ash into the sky in a phenomenon widely regarded as the phreatic eruption.

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She said both of her children - Kahele Rodrigues, two, and Kayden Rodrigues, three months old - were doing OK, but she and her fiance had both been sneezing all day.

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