Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano 'Could Blow Again Within Hours'

Image released oin Thursday by the US Geological Survey showed lava spattering from fissures which have opened up this week

Image released oin Thursday by the US Geological Survey showed lava spattering from fissures which have opened up this week Credit HO AFP

The newest eruption follows a damaging quake, risky volcanic smog and large lava flows that are all threatening Hawaii's Big Island.

The legislation, which still must pass the House and be signed by President Donald Trump, directs the U.S. Geological Survey to create a new federal "volcano watch office" that would monitor active volcanoes in the U.S. and its territories on a 24/7 basis. One of the latest shots is a view of a "moonscape" with a massive rock in the middle.

"These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity", the park service said Wednesday, citing U.S. Geological Survey data.

"The activity is such that they can occur at any time, separated by a number of hours", Hawaiian National Volcano Observatory Deputy Scientist-In-Charge Steve Brantley told reporters on a conference call.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has advised of an explosive eruption at Kilauea summit that occurred at 4:17 a.m. It looked like it was a steam and ash plume.

Some residents of Hawaii's Big Island say they didn't hear or feel the pre-dawn summit eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano that sent a plume of ash 30,000 feet (9,140 meters) into the sky.

"This is one of the reasons that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed", Poland said.

People watch at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Wednesday
Credit Mario Tama Getty
People watch at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Wednesday Credit Mario Tama Getty

Though disruptive, even painful for people living near Kīlauea - especially those who have already lost their homes - the eruption will not significantly affect life on the rest of the Big Island, Poland said. Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea to protect residents from the powdered rock, which is not poisonous but causes irritation to eyes and airways. The crews of the aircraft are ordered not to enter the airspace above the volcano within a radius of 8 km around the crater. "We also have masks if needed and have a safe place for people to be".

Residents who live in a nearby town reported light amounts of ash after the eruption.

Local volcano experts say Kilauea is following a well-established pattern of lava flows and both large and small explosions. It comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighborhoods.

Fears are growing that Hawaii's Kilauea is heading for a major volcanic eruption.

The Cleveland Volcano, which Murkowski mentioned in her statement, is located in the Aleutian Islands earlier this month, spewing ash 22,000 feet into the air.

Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures.

But they expect them to continue.

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