Kilauea Opens New Fissure, Spews More Lava And Toxic Gas

Kilauea Opens New Fissure, Spews More Lava And Toxic Gas

Scientists Michelle Coombs said at a morning news conference at Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo that the event, which sent a cloud of ash and smoke up to 30,000 feet high, was "consistent with what we were thinking might happen".

A spike in toxic sulfur dioxide gas levels closed schools around the town of Pahoa, 25 miles (40 km) east of the volcano, where lava from giant cracks has destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced about 2,000 residents to evacuate.

Officials have said they did not expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of the park.

Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders the size of cows from the summit.

In the village of Volcano, barely three miles from the summit, lifelong resident Lance Benevides went through the familiar protocol to cope with an eruption, including detaching his roof gutters from his water tank to keep ash out of the catchment system that serves as his water supply.

"Tall but small", she said of Thursday's plume.

Authorities by afternoon said weak winds and rain meant that ash fallout from the latest eruption was largely contained in areas around the Kilauea summit.

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Mr Grange said the best thing to do is to "get out of Dodge" in an area where sulfur dioxide levels are at condition red.

The summit explosion of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano exploded around 4 o'clock Thursday morning. Eye and respiratory irritants with low-level impacts for most people. The National Weather Service issuing an ashfall advisory for parts of the big island, saying ash accumulations less than one quarter of an inch were possible.

Thursday's event was, if not the huge one, then certainly a big one, researchers told further.

This increases the risk of steam-powered explosions as the magma meets underground water.

Continuous ash emissions from Halemaumau crater are reaching as high as 12,000 feet.

By a co-accident, on the Thursday's explosive event comes one day before the 94th anniversary of that death and on the 38th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State. He explained from time to time he can feel the rumblings from the active volcano.

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