The Kilauea volcano has already entered the phase of explosive eruption, throwing stones hundreds of meters away and a column of ash more than 9,100 meters above sea level, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Geologists have been warning of an explosion of this type for days, and have claimed that previous emissions from the crater were probably due to rockfalls or gas explosions.
Despite the size of the explosive eruption, several nearby residents said they had not seen or heard anything, but experts believe it was because it was dark and because the explosion occurred deep in the crater.
“This is the kind of explosive activity we anticipate,” said USGS geophysicist Mike Poland, who was in Kilauea from 2005 to 2015. “It’s not going to be the only one, and there are likely to be additional events”.
Officials from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said the depression in the center of the volcano, fell more than nine meters during the night, causing frequent earthquakes that have cracked roads in the area. As the boiler sinks further, it can cause additional explosions driven by steam.
Given the threat, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed, and National Guard officials urged those living near the crater to go to shelters.
The wind is carrying the plume of the eruption to the northeast, causing ash to rain in nearby communities. The ash represents the main threat to the health in this eruption.
The observatory also warned that vog (a harmful smoke that forms when the sulfur dioxide from eruptive events interacts with water vapor and oxygen in the air) has been detected in the community of Pahala, southwest of the volcano.
Meanwhile, the stormy weather caused the ash to mix with the rain, creating a dark paste that covered the roofs and windshields of the vehicles.