Skip to content

Hawaii’s Kilauea: Explosive eruption at volcano

May 17, 2018
People watch as ash erupts from the Halemaumau crater near the community of Volcano during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 15, 2018Image copyrightReuters
Image caption People in the community of Volcano watch an earlier, smaller ash cloud from Kilauea

An explosive eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has sent ash 30,000ft (9,100m) into the sky.

The US Geological Survey says the eruption took place at 04:15 local time (14:15 GMT).

Staff at the volcano observatory and the national park had previously been evacuated.

Since a new zone of Mount Kilauea began erupting almost two weeks ago, lava has wrecked dozens of homes and forced hundreds of people to be evacuated.

A red aviation code had already been issued – warning pilots to avoid the potentially damaging ash cloud.

The USGS had warned that an explosive eruption at Kilauea was becoming more likely as the volcano’s lava lake was lowering.

This increases the risk of highly explosive steam-powered eruptions as the magma meets underground water.

Hawaii’s emergency management agency advised people in the area affected by ash to stay in their homes if possible.

Skip Twitter post by @Hawaii_EMA

Warning from @CivilDefenseHI that an explosive eruption has occurred at #Kilauea. Ash plume expected to spread to SE. Driving conditions may be dangerous. Shelter in place if you can.

— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) May 17, 2018

End of Twitter post by @Hawaii_EMA

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

It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has been erupting continuously, though not explosively, for more than 30 years.

Its last explosive eruption took place in 1924.

Even before Thursday morning’s explosive eruption, the ash plume from the volcano could be seen from the International Space Station.

Skip Twitter post by @Astro_Feustel

It is easy to see the activity on Hawaii’s #Kilauea Volcano from @Space_Station. We hope those in the vicinity of the eruption can stay out of harm’s way. pic.twitter.com/osTn3fH073

— A.J. (Drew) Feustel (@Astro_Feustel) May 14, 2018

End of Twitter post by @Astro_Feustel