Explosive Eruption in Kilauea Crater

KILAUEA (KHNL) -- A small explosion occurred at Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcanoes National Park just before 3:00 a.m. Wednesday.

The explosion scattered debris over an area of about 75 acres, covering a portion of Crater Rim Drive and damaging the Halemauma overlook.

Most of the pieces that came raining down were just a couple of centimeters.

But the largest observed block ejected during the explosion was about one cubic meter or roughly the size of a washing machine.

And it was propelled from the vent to an area more than 230 feet below the Crater Rim.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory initially reported it as an earthquake.

Scientists at the observatory say it was the first explosion in Kilauea's Halemaumau Crater since 1924.