Explosion Rocks Halema'uma'u Crater

KILAUEA (KHNL) -- On the Big Island of Hawaii, Halema'uma'u Crater continues to put on a show.

Scientists are on alert after a second explosion sends lava and rocks into the crater.

Despite the new activity, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopened Thursday morning, after being closed for two days.

The explosion was smaller in magnitude than the one on March 19th, but it blew apart a portion of the vent, making it between 15 and 30 feet bigger.

Pictures sent to KHNL show the change in size at the crater.

The first one was taken on April 6. You can see the emissions coming from the vent

A picture taken on Thursday, shows the change in size

This latest explosion happened at Halema'uma'u crater Wednesday night around 11:08.

Scientists monitoring the crater around-the-clock saw rocks being ejected from the vent during the explosion.

Some blocks were blasted to the rim of the crater 230 feet above the vent.

The other big issue from Halema'uma'u is the sulfur dioxide emissions in the air that caused officials to shut down the park for two days.

"The trades were beginning to build over higher elevations, and so the east winds started to move," said Cindy Orlando, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park superintendent. "And we were pretty much back to normal levels."

Cindy adds:"They were lined up at 10 a.m. when they got the word."

The Halema'uma'u viewing area and Front Country Trail remain closed.

Park officials are considering extending the visitor center and museum hours to better accommodate the crowds coming to view the plumes.

Hawai'i county civil defense received reports of ash falling in the Pahala District due to Wednesday's explosion, suggesting that tiny fragments of rock pulverized by the explosion were carried down wind at least 19 miles to that area.