Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Ash fallout' alert after Hawaii volcano erupts in 30000-foot plume

Ash fallout' alert after Hawaii volcano erupts in 30000-foot plume

Authorities have warned residents to stay away from the neighborhoods evacuated, warning that toxic sulfur dioxide seeping out of almost two dozen cracks in the ground caused by the volcano could prove deadly.

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

Michelle Coombes said the eruption had temporarily relieved some pressure in the volcano but there may be more, larger powerful events.

But they say they expect no loss of life given that the most exposed residential areas have been evacuated and the region where the volcano is located - on the southeastern part of the island - is not densely populated.

The National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory for the Big Island after Kilauea Volcano erupted Thursday morning, meaning up to a quarter inch of ash could fall in affected areas. It looked like it was a steam and ash plume.

Since the latest eruption started on the big island, on May 3, the United States Geological Survey has been monitoring the danger and updating us with some devastating imagery on social media.

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"With stratovolcanoes, when that lava reaches the surface, you get a very sudden expansion of that gas, and this generates a much more violent explosion", Malone said. "Protect yourself from ash fallout".

In the 1924 eruption, which lasted 2-1/2 weeks, one person was killed by debris shot from the crater and areas as far as 35 miles (56 km) to the southwest and 30 miles (48 km) to the east were dusted with ash, according to the USGS.

PAHOA, HI - MAY 16: Eruptive activity from the Kilauea volcano continues in the vicinity of fissure 17 with cooling lava (center and center left) on Hawaii's Big Island on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii.

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

This week's activity is just one of 61 recorded eruptions in the volcano's cycle. The eventual eruptions generated ash clouds more than five miles high which threw blocks weighing as much as 28,000 pounds out of the crater. Here, a geologist inspects cracks on the road caused by the volcano.

What is happening at Kilauea is fundamentally is dissimilar from that 1980 eruption, experts told. He's making sure the hundreds of evacuees that are using the shelter have food and a place to sleep, as well as any comfort they need during the stressful time.

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