Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Shoots 9km Stream of Ash Into Sky


REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has erupted, launching a thick plume of ash nearly 9 km into the air. Scientists warn this could be the first of many explosions.

Things are worsening for residents of Pahoa, Hawaii as the Kilauea volcano spewed ash close to 9km into the air.

The ash fallout has released toxic gas into the atmosphere, with Pahoa fire station recording a “red level” of sulfur dioxide, Reuters reports. This is severe enough to cause choking and an inability to breathe. “If it’s red, it’s get out of Dodge,” Fenix Grange of the Hawaii Department of Health said in a news conference. “We’re trying to create a ring around sulfur dioxide so we can protect people.”

While USGS geologist Michelle Coombs says the explosion of ash did relieve pressure for the volcano, she also noted that it could be the first in a series of explosions. “We may have additional larger, powerful events,” she said. However this could mean that a single extreme eruption may not occur. 

The ash plume could reach the Big Island’s largest city, Hilo, with strong enough winds. “Protect yourself from ash fallout,” the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned residents. Approximately 2000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes, with more than 37 buildings destroyed by lava that has been flowing several days ago





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