Hawaii volcano erupts from summit, shooting plume of ash

Hawaii volcano erupts from summit, shooting plume of ash

Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground during the two-week eruption, authorities said.

Several schools closed due to the levels of ash in the air, and locals who live near the volcano are evacuating.

Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have shifted gears.

Volcanologists aren't expecting Kilauea's eruptions to be almost as risky, but they could still pose a threat. She's anxious potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.

Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, confirmed the explosion on Thursday.

Hawaii officials have had a busy month pleading with travelers to keep their plans even as dramatic images of natural disasters afflicting the islands have bombarded televisions and social media feeds. Then as Kilauea's magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 quake rocked the Big Island.

Fissure in Leilani Estates.

Since the quake, there have been frequent aftershocks. But during the past week, magma flowing underground from the summit burst through 20 fissures that opened within residential neighborhoods about 20 miles as the crow flies from the volcano summit. It is known that in the Eastern part of the island was destroyed 26 houses. The earlier explosive eruption produced an ash cloud that reaches as high as 30,000 feet and is drifting to the northeast.

Residents in areas near the volcano told The Associated Press they experienced light amounts of ash accumulation following the eruption.

That said, a series of new eruptions are very possible, according to the USGS.

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Some people in the community closest to the volcano slept through the explosion. "We've been expecting this, and a lot of people are going to see it and get excited and scared".

The town, which is nestled in a lush rainforest a few miles from the crater, is a popular overnight spot for park visitors.

Scientists can not say why the eruption is happening now, given that Kilauea has been active for 35 years. Coney is anticipating more depending on what happens. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement after Thursday's vote.

When the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, Gebbie and hundreds of people were forced from their homes in the Leilani Estates subdivision.

"I don't think there is a big one that's coming", said University of Hawaii volcanologist Scott Rowland.

Hawaii County officials say the volcano on the Big Island exploded at 4:17 a.m.

Like the town of Kamuela which is home to vast cattle ranches and Hawaii's own cowboys, called paniolo. Lightning and meteors streaking across the sky are also visible.

The global airports in Hilo and Kona are open, officials said.

Houghton says that it may be hard to know when it is safe for people to return to evacuated areas.

"Just a little while ago we had something that sounded like thunder", Hoyt said.

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