Officials warn of falling ash after explosion at Kilauea summit

By Daniel Uria  |  June 10, 2018 at 2:08 PM
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June 10 (UPI) -- A small explosion occurred at the summit of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, officials said Sunday morning.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the explosion was equivalent to a magnitude of 5.4 and sent plumes of ash into the air.

"Based on past events, minor ashfall may occur on the south part of the island," the observatory said.

The observatory predicted another small explosion to occur within 24 hours and reported sulfur dioxide emissions from the summit dropped by about half.

Lava continued to fountain out of Fissure 8, reaching heights of about 200 feet, while Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass accumulated on the ground within Leilani Estates area.

Minor activity was also reported at Fissures 16 and 18.

Minor flows overtopping the channel levees carrying water into the ocean were observed, but no significant breakouts occurred

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned residents to avoid the ocean entry area, as it continued to produce large plumes of lava.

"Venturing too close to an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris from sudden explosive interaction between lava and water," the observatory said. "Also, the lava delta is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand."

Nearly 600 homes on Hawaii's Big Island have been destroyed as a result of the eruption, which Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said mad it the most catastrophic event in the state's history.

The eruptions began in early May, but Mount Kilauea has been seismically active for more than 35 years.

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