Explosive eruptions continue to produce plumes of ash at Kilauea - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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Explosive eruptions continue to produce plumes of ash at Kilauea's summit crater

HVO webcam shows Halemaumau Crater on Tuesday morning, after another explosion sent a plume of ash into the air (Image: HVO) HVO webcam shows Halemaumau Crater on Tuesday morning, after another explosion sent a plume of ash into the air (Image: HVO)
New radar images show changes at Kilauea's summit between and May 5 and May 17, when an explosive eruption shot a 5-mile column of ash into the sky. (Image: USGS) New radar images show changes at Kilauea's summit between and May 5 and May 17, when an explosive eruption shot a 5-mile column of ash into the sky. (Image: USGS)
Webcam image shows the plume of ash from Thursday morning's explosive eruption at Kilauea (Image: USGS) Webcam image shows the plume of ash from Thursday morning's explosive eruption at Kilauea (Image: USGS)
Huge plumes of ash poured from Halemaumau Crater as volcanic activity at the summit continued. (Image: Janice Wei) Huge plumes of ash poured from Halemaumau Crater as volcanic activity at the summit continued. (Image: Janice Wei)
A thick plume of ash pours out of Halemaumau Crater, sending ash as far away as Pahala. (Image: USGS) A thick plume of ash pours out of Halemaumau Crater, sending ash as far away as Pahala. (Image: USGS)
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    Thursday, May 17 2018 5:17 PM EDT2018-05-17 21:17:09 GMT
    Ash fell on cars and homes after an explosive eruption at Halemaumau Crater. (Image: Hawaii News Now)Ash fell on cars and homes after an explosive eruption at Halemaumau Crater. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

    The possibility of explosive eruptions at Kilauea's summit crater is prompting civil defense officials to warn residents about how to handle ashfall. 

    More >>

    The possibility of explosive eruptions at Kilauea's summit crater is prompting civil defense officials to warn residents about how to handle ashfall. 

    More >>
PAHALA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Explosions continue at the summit of Kilauea, prompting authorities to warn area residents about the threat of ashfall. 

The latest eruption at Halemaumau Crater happened around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, creating an ash plume that was about 8,000 feet above sea level. They also warned that the wind may carry the plume to the southwest.

Hours earlier, around 8 p.m. Monday, another "very small" explosion occurred. But earlier in the day, about 6 p.m., a more sizable explosion rocked the summit.

And well before dawn, about 12:55 a.m., a large eruption sent an ash plume 7,000 feet above sea level.

Officials warned ash could be carried as far as Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Waionihu.

The summit crater has been rocked by explosive eruptions for more than a week amid ongoing volcanic activity on Hawaii Island.

On Saturday, an eruption triggered a column of ash from the crater that reached up to 10,000 feet above sea level. 

And last week Thursday, a powerful but short-lived explosive sent an ash plume more than 5 miles into the air.

After that explosion, radar imagery found the eruptive vent at Halemaumau Crater had significantly enlarged.

Officials said the vent's area was about 12 acres on May 5. After the explosion Thursday, the area of the vent was 34 acres.

Geologists say eruptive explosions at the crater could last for weeks.

They violent eruptions are "consistent" with steam-induced explosions — lava interacting with the water table. 

Scientists have warned for weeks that eruptions at the summit could send heavy ashfall across communities near the summit and toss boulders "the size of cows" as far as a half a mile.

Given the threat, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed, and civil defense officials are urging those who live near the crater to remain vigilant.

The news comes as civil defense authorities continue to respond to Kilauea's ongoing eruptions in lower Puna, where thousands of people remain under mandatory evacuation orders.


MORE:

► LIST: Lava threat forces evacuations, closures
► Big Island businesses face layoffs, losses as visitor cancellations mount
► Satellite images help tell the story of lava's destruction on Big Island
► 'Dead or dying': Lava, toxic gas decimate crops in lower Puna
► From horses to bunnies, mission underway to rescue pets in lava-ravaged zones
► Here's how to help those affected by the Big Island eruptions


The last time steam-induced eruptions happened at Halemaumau Crater was nearly a century ago, when flying debris killed one and left a layer of ash over homes and cars. In 1924, explosive events at the summit lasted for two and a half weeks and ash reached as high as 20,000 feet above sea level. Scientists say they're using the 1924 event as something of a baseline, using it to determine how long this volcanic event might last and how strong eruptions could be.

This story will be updated.

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