Hawaii volcano eruption in PICTURES: Ash spewed 30000 feet high

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Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been spewing lava since Thursday, May 3, and has destroyed 26 homes since then.

The US Geological Survey had warned that an explosive eruption at Kilauea was becoming more likely as the volcano's lava lake was lowering.

Civil defense workers handed out one ash mask per family member in communities close to Kilauea, such as the village of Volcano, which was expected to receive a 1/32 of an inch (0.8 millimeters) dusting of ash, according to USGS estimates.

News coverage of the Big Island events have been pretty balanced, Tolentino said, but noted that inaccuracies have not helped, especially when a national news outlet reported Oahu residents were forced to evacuate.

"We may have additional larger, powerful events", USGS geologist Michelle Coombs told reporters after Thursday's eruption.

PAHOA, HI - MAY 16: Eruptive activity from the Kilauea volcano continues in the vicinity of fissure 17 with cooling lava (center and center left) on Hawaii's Big Island on May 16, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii.

Hawaii volcano eruption in PICTURES: Ash spewed 30000 feet high
Hawaii volcano eruption in PICTURES: Ash spewed 30000 feet high

Time lapse images taken from a camera at the Gemini Telescope on the Big Island captured the eruption plume just before sunrise.

Kilauea is a shield volcano, which means it emits fluid basalt lava and has a broad dome shape, instead of a steep peak.

Thursday's explosion sent an ash plume around 30,000 feet high. One person was killed by falling debris from the massive eruption. On the other hand, stratovolcanoes - which include Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines and Mount St. Helens in Washington State - are usually taller and have more viscous lava flows with trapped gas that can generate volatile explosions. Shield volcanoes like Kīlauea produce a runny, basaltic lava that does not tend to erupt as dramatically as steep stratovolcanos like Mount St. Helens. 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. Whereas St. Helens sits along the geologically active boundary of the Pacific Plate, Kilauea and the other Hawaiian volcanoes are powered by inside the Earth's mantle.

Eruptions involving magma offer warning signs for a potential evacuation, including inflation of the surrounding ground, seismic activity caused as rocks break and changes in the gases being vented.

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

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