Briefing to discuss possibility of large explosions at Kilauea's summit

PAHALA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The possibility of a catastrophic explosive event at Halemaumau Crater will be discussed Thursday in Pahala.

Civil Defense and other agencies will be at the briefing, set for 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.

The agencies will discuss the possible impacts of such an event along with how they'd respond.

Explosive eruptions have been happening at Kilauea's summit since early May, sending plumes of ash onto neighboring communities and triggering earthquakes, many of which have registered above magnitude 5.0.

One scenario geologists are considering is that as volcanic activity continues, larger, steam-driven explosive eruptions could happen at the summit, sending more ash and debris into the air.

But Janet Babb, geologist with the U.S Geological Survey, said the threat of such an explosion is small.

"While the probability is quite low, it's not zero, and so the mayor called the meeting to talk about what the possibilities are," she said.

The briefing will include a USGS presentation. State and county officials will be on hand to discuss roads and evacuation routes. The issues of sheltering and personal preparedness will also be on the agenda, according to a news release.

For more information, the County Department of Research and Development at 808-961-8368.

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