New eruptions spew ash, lava on Hawaii’s Big Island
More eruptions overnight from Hawaii’s Kilauea launched plumes of ash high over the Big Island, where lava from the volcano’s rifts was endangering housing districts and flowing into the ocean, authorities said on Tuesday.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a predawn explosive eruption from the Kilauea summit, with an ash plume rising over 2,000 metres high.
The blast from the mountaintop was the third overnight and the fourth since early Monday.
The island’s civil defence agency warned of ash blowing south-west of the summit toward small communities nearby.
Residents were urged to avoid driving, stay indoors and listen for broadcast updates.
Kilauea has been rumbling for weeks, spewing lava from fissures opening in the slopes of the volcano well away from the summit, forcing the evacuation of housing subdivisions and destroying scores of homes.
A fountain of lava sprayed some 40 metres into the air Monday from one existing crack south-east of the summit, and in some spots lava dripped into the salty Pacific, giving off dangerous acidic gasses.
according to the USGS, the eruption began April 30 with the collapse of a lava-filled crater in the volcano, raising pressure from underground magma.
The island of Hawaii, for which the Pacific archipelago is named, has been continually rattled by earthquakes this month, the strongest on May 4 hitting magnitude 6.9 and being felt on other Hawaiian islands.
The largest eruption from the summit occurred recently, when Kilauea expelled ash up to 9,000 metres high.
Report says Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed to visitors.