Home NEWS Dramatic moment Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts from its summit and shoots an...

Dramatic moment Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts from its summit and shoots an ash plume 30,000 feet into the sky – higher than the peak of MOUNT EVEREST – covering homes in the area

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An explosive eruption from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has sent ash spewing 30,000 feet into the sky, with residents now being warned to shelter in place as the dusty plume engulfs the island.

The powerful, steam-driven explosion occurred at 4.17am on Thursday and started spewing large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke from Kilauea’s crater on Hawaii’s Big Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The National Weather Service also issued an ashfall advisory warning after radars showed the massive plume, which shot higher than the peak of Mount Everest.

The wind could carry the ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island’s largest city and major tourism center, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.   

An explosive eruption from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Thursday sent ash spewing 30,000 feet into the sky (above), with residents now being warned to shelter in place

An explosive eruption from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Thursday sent ash spewing 30,000 feet into the sky (above), with residents now being warned to shelter in place

The explosion occurred just before dawn on Thursday and was expected to spew large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke (above) from Kilauea's crater on Hawaii's Big Island

The explosion occurred just before dawn on Thursday and was expected to spew large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke (above) from Kilauea’s crater on Hawaii’s Big Island

This image is from a research camera mounted in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and shows the plume of smoke coming out of the crater

This image is from a research camera mounted in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and shows the plume of smoke coming out of the crater

‘Protect yourself from ash fallout,’ the warning alert said. ‘The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area.

‘You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves.’ 

USGS geologists and staff were evacuated from the summit shortly before the blast and a webcam showed a gray plume of ash and chunks of magma known as pyroclasts that showered the volcano’s slopes.

An aviation red alert was also issued due to risks that ash could be carried into aircraft routes and damage jet engines. 

The eruption could not only enshroud large areas of the Big Island in volcanic ash and smog but other Hawaiian Islands and potentially distant areas if the plume reaches up into the stratosphere and ash is carried by winds. 

National Guard troops donned gas masks to protect themselves from toxic sulfur dioxide gas at the intersection of highways 130 and 132, the main exit routes from the village of Pahoa, 25 miles east of the volcano, where many of the ground fissures have erupted, according to a Reuters reporter on the ground.

The explosion came a day after ‘ballistic blocks’ the size of microwave ovens started shooting from the volcano in what experts had predicted was the start of eruption.

The USGS predicted that steam-driven blasts could send a massive ash plume out of the crater and hurl 10-12 ton boulders up to half a mile. 

The 30,000 smoke plume shot higher than the peak of Mount Everest on Thursday after it exploded

The 30,000 smoke plume shot higher than the peak of Mount Everest on Thursday after it exploded

A shelter in place warning has been issued after Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit on Thursday

A shelter in place warning has been issued after Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit on Thursday

It comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighborhoods. Pictured above in fissure 17 on Thursday, which is still active

It comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighborhoods. Pictured above in fissure 17 on Thursday, which is still active

Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday

Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii’s Big Island on Wednesday

The explosion came after two weeks of volcanic activity and the opening of more than a dozen fissures east of the crater that spewed lava into neighborhoods, forcing 2,000 people to evacuate. 

Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures. 

The crater sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11. Officials have said they didn’t expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of park.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. An eruption in 1924 killed one person and sent rocks, ash and dust into the air for 17 days. 

Scientists warned on May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for an explosion that could fling ash and boulders the size of refrigerators into the air.

Scientists predicted it would mostly release trapped steam from flash-heated groundwater released as though it was a kitchen pressure cooker.

Communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-size fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash, they said.

Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983.

It’s one of five volcanoes that comprise the Big Island of Hawaii, and the only one currently erupting.

A group of golfers were seen playing a round nearby Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting for 11 days, as an ash cloud forms behind them

A group of golfers were seen playing a round nearby Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting for 11 days, as an ash cloud forms behind them

This was the view Volcano Golf and Country Club on Tuesday as a 12,000 foot plume of toxic ash billowed from the peak

Smoke is seen pouring from multiple open fissures on Kilauea on Wednesday as multiple earthquakes damaged roads and buildings in the surrounding areas

Smoke is seen pouring from multiple open fissures on Kilauea on Wednesday as multiple earthquakes damaged roads and buildings in the surrounding areas

Lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano on Wednesday night prior to the volcano erupting 

Lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano on Wednesday night prior to the volcano erupting 

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