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    Hawaii volcano erupts from summit, shooting plume of ash

    Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has erupted from its summit, shooting a dusty plume of ash about 30,000 feet into the sky.
    Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, confirmed the explosion on Thursday.
    “The wind may carry the ash plume north toward Kau, Volcano, Mt. View, Kea’au and as far as Hilo. Protect yourself from ash fallout,” the County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a phone alert.
     
    Residents of the Big Island were warned to shelter in place as the plume engulfed a wide area, authorities said.
    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 the park.
    The powerful, steam-driven blast was expected to spew large amounts of volcanic ash and smoke from Kilauea’s crater. The volcano has destroyed 37 homes and other structures in a small southeast area of the island and forced around 2,000 people to evacuate their homes.
    Geologists had warned explosive eruptions could begin once Kilauea’s falling lava lake descended below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of the lava column and create a steam-driven blasts.
    The powerful explosions could hurl “ballistic blocks” the size of small cars across a distance of more than half a mile (1 km) and shoot pebble-sized projectiles and debris up to a dozen miles, the USGS has warned.
    Such an eruption could not only shroud large areas of the Big Island in volcanic ash and smog but also other Hawaiian Islands and potentially distant areas if the plume reaches up into the stratosphere and ash is carried by winds.
    The eruption comes after more than a dozen fissures recently opened miles to the east of the crater and spewed lava into neighborhoods.Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures
    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.

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