Hawaii's Kilauea volcano just exploded

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano just explodedHawaii’s volcanologists got it right. Although Hawaii’s volcanoes rarely erupt explosively, a perfect stage had been set for such an eruption to occur this week, and it did. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted explosively at 4:15 a.m. Hawaii time on Thursday morning. An imposing ash cloud reached 30,000 feet into the sky, presenting danger to aircraft and potential respiratory issues for islanders, depending on where the ash lands.  SEE ALSO: Deep beneath the Pacific, another active Hawaiian volcano waits to emerge There have been no reported deaths or injuries from the explosion. The explosion occurred at the famous Halema‘uma‘u crater in the middle of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which was closed down over the weekend as scientists warned that the volcano could erupt explosively at any point, hurling ash, “lava bombs,” and massive boulders into the air.  Another such eruption could happen at any point. USGS scientists use Ash3D computer simulations to show how far ash might travel and how much ash might fall to the ground. This graphic shows today’s simulation (May 17) for the explosive eruption at KÄ«lauea’s summit. https://t.co/Ds1pWnFRVw pic.twitter.com/hGCoTBon1X — USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 17, 2018 “At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent,” the USGS wrote on their Volcano Hazards website.   The USGS released a preliminary simulation of where the volcano’s ash might land, but notes it’s “Not an official forecast.” Scientists expected an explosive eruption for a specific reason: A large lava lake had drained over the last week and a half, lowering some 1,000 feet beneath the crater’s rim.  Once the lava dipped below the island’s water table (the point at which the ground is saturated with water), this could allow water to seep uninhibited into the lava, creating lots of steam.  Everyone, we know you are hungry for images & video of the explosive eruptions at the summit of #Kilauea. Our scientists are all occupied with monitoring our instrumentation (which has to take priority on limited bandwidth over streaming video) and dealing with media requests. — USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 17, 2018 The problem, however, is that the retreat of lava left a thousand of feet of vulnerable rocky walls without any support, and rocks started tumbling down into the depth of the vent.  Scientists warned that if these rocks plugged up the vent, steam-derived pressure could build up, stoking an explosion of ash, gas, and rocks. Now, this appears to have happened.  But unlike volcanoes that are expected to erupt explosively, this Kilauea eruption shouldn’t be deadly, as long as people stay away from the vicinity and avoid ash-choked air. Truly explosive volcanoes — like Mount Vesuvius or Mount St. Helens — can blast out speeding avalanches of scorching rock, ash, and gas. Called “pyroclastic flows,” these are unquestionably and historically deadly. WATCH: It takes absolute precision to construct Earth’s largest telescope, which will peak into far-off alien worlds

Source: Yahoo! News