Biggest eruption at Hawaii volcano since it became more active

A webcam image of the Kilauea volcano's Thursday eruption from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

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.

Lava erupting from the Kilauea volcano in Kapoho, Hawaii. This generated an impressive ash plume that looks like thick rain.

Geologists said the 4:15 a.m. (10:15 a.m. EDT) explosion was likely the first in a series of steam-driven blasts last seen in 1924, rather than "the big one" that nervous residents had feared as Kilauea was rocked by earthquakes in recent days.

But clearly, not everyone was so anxious.

There are occasional bursts of ash coming from the crater causing ash to fall downwind to several communities, though there are only trace amounts, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"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.

"I don't think there is a big one that's coming", said University of Hawaii vulcanologist Scott Rowland. In total, about 2,000 people were evacuated from the zone affected by the volcano eruption over the last two weeks.

Ash emerges from the Pu'u O'o vent on the Kilauea volcano last week

Authorities warned citizens to beware of fallen utility lines and poles, and the spread of toxic gas emanating from the ash plumes. Yet for others, the explosions at Halemaumau Crater and multiple fissures and lava flows in Leilani Estates hit close to home - even if ocean and islands separate them.

Earlier, a change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift towards Pahoa, prompting national guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection.

Members of the Arizona National Guard answered the call and ventured into some risky areas on the Big Island of Hawaii after entire neighborhoods witnessed cracks and fissures from the Kilauea volcano.

The volcano.it's a real dynamic situation up there. we could have additional events like this morning that punch up and then die back down really quickly. we could have more sustained ash.

There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption.

The immediate risk health risk comes from ash particles in the air, said Dr. Josh Green, a state senator who represents part of the Big Island, also called Hawai'i Island.

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

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