People watch ashes rise from the summit crater of Kilauea volcano on Thursday, May 1
HONOLULU – A volcano on Hawaii's Big Island erupted on Thursday with low noise and moderate rage, spitting a steel gray ash cloud about 9,100 meters into the sky, which began to rain on a nearby city ,
The explosion on top of Kilauea came just after 4 pm after two weeks of volcanic activity that sent lava flows into neighborhoods and destroyed at least 26 houses. The scientists said the outbreak was the strongest in the last few days, though it probably only lasted a few minutes.
Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future explosions could throw boulders cows from the summit.
Toby Hazel, who lives in Pahoa, near the mountain, said she heard "many booming noises". These came after days of earthquakes.
"It's time to leave – it's really real," she said, getting ready to leave the city. "I'm so sorry for the people who do not go because they do not have the money or do not want to go to an animal shelter and leave their homes."
Some people in the community closest to Laut Kanani Aton, a civil defense spokeswoman for Hawaii County, said the volcano had slept through the explosion and talked to relatives and friends in the city called Volcano.
At least one person who was awake did not hear anything. Epic lava tour operator John Tarson is an early riser and did not learn of the outbreak until he received a warning on his cell phone. The plume of feathers, a towering ash cloud rising into a misty sky, looked different from others he had observed because of its height.
"What I noticed was that the spring was just rising in the air and was not tilting in any direction," he said. "We expected that, and many people will see it and be excited and scared."
Tour Guide Scott Wiggers also did not hear the outbreak and was unaware that anything had happened. Later that morning, he picked up four travelers for a tour and headed for the volcano, hoping to see "some action." But it was raining too hard for her to see much.
The only sign of the eruption he found was ashes that covered his truck's rear bumper.
Residents as far as Hilo, about 30 miles from Kilauea, began noticing the effects of the volcano. Pua & # 39; ena Ahn, who lives in Hilo, complained of respiratory distress, itchy, watery eyes, and skin irritation from fly ash.
The National Weather Service issued an Ash Recommendation and extended it until the early evening, and the district officials distribute ash masks to residents. Because of the risk of elevated sulfur dioxide concentrations, a volcanic gas, several schools were closed.
The immediate risk to health is in the ash particles in the air, Dr. Josh Green, a state senator who forms part of the Big Island
Anyone with difficulty breathing, such as asthma or emphysema, should limit exposure to ashes, Green said.
"People have to stay indoors until the winds shift and the ashes settle," he said.] Prolonged exposure to sulfur dioxide can increase the risk of bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections over the long term, according to a study, which Green 2010 published with other experts in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.
The Federal Aviation The government extended the air traffic restriction to 9,100 meters above the Kilauea peak. The former limit was up to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters). The ban applies to a radius of 8 kilometers around the crater.
Thursday's breakout had no impact on the two largest airports in the Big Island of Hilo and Kailua-Kona.
The crater spitting ash sits on Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11 as a precaution against the risk of a violent eruption.
Scientists warned on May 9 that a fall of the lava lake on the summit could create conditions for a major explosion. Geologists predicted that such an explosion would release mostly trapped steam from flash-heated groundwater.
Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been continuously erupting since 1983. He is one of the five volcanoes that make up the Great Isle only one actively erupting. An outbreak in 1924 killed one person and sent rocks, ashes and dust into the air for 17 days.
Scientists can not say why the outbreak is happening now that Kilauea has been active for 35 years.
"It's so many variables, it's complicated, like a bad Facebook relationship status," said volcanologist Janine Krippner of Concord University in West Virginia. "Something will change someday, as it happens over and over and over."
Robert Hughes owns the Aloha Junction Bed and Breakfast, located one and a half kilometers from the crater. He said he had heard nothing and had not found any ashes yet.
His business was hit hard by fears of the volcano, a major attraction for visitors. He has lost hundreds of reservations and had only three guests on Thursday instead of the 12 to 14 he normally serves.
"In the old days, people liked to see the volcano, even taking their little postcards with them, burning a corner in the lava flow, sending them away, stuff like that," he said. "Now they behave as if it's all super-dangerous and everything, but it just kind of works out."
Associated Press writers Jennifer Kelleher and Audrey McAvoy of Honolulu, Becky Bohrer of Juneau, Alaska, and Seth Borenstein of Washington DC and Alina Hartounian of Phoenix contributed to the report.
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