'Ballistic blocks' shoot from Hawaii volcano

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Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders the size of cows from the summit.

"This is the sort of explosive activity that was anticipated", Poland told The Post. "It's not going to be the only one".

"The last time the volcano near the summit was in the same condition as now was in 1924 and in that year, we had about a two-week period of large explosive eruptions out of the summit", he said.

"A lot of my friends from the mainland, they have been inundating me with, 'Are you OK?' A lot of them think we're (just) one island", she said. "Protect yourself from ash fallout". The volcano erupted on Thursday morning and molten rock has been spewing out since then.

But those events were "not the big one" is the reason of the interactions between hot rock and groundwater, Coombs said Tuesday.

Residents as far away as Hilo, about 50 kilometres from Kilauea, were starting to notice the volcano's effects.

The National Weather Service issuing an ashfall advisory for parts of the big island, saying ash accumulations less than one quarter of an inch were possible.

Sgt. Carl Satterwaite
Sgt. Carl Satterwaite

"I would like to also remind the rest of the world as well as the rest of the state, Hawaii Island continues to be open for business", he said. "Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles", the US Geological Survey said.

HVO's warning came after an explosive eruption at 4 a.m. that day. But this is not Kilauea's first massive eruption.

The volcano has been violently erupting since the beginning of the month, its deadly lava spreading into residential areas.

Kilauea's falling lava lake has likely descended to a level at or below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of its lava column and create steam-driven blasts, they said. Whereas St. Helens sits along the geologically active boundary of the Pacific Plate, Kilauea and the other Hawaiian volcanoes are powered by inside the Earth's mantle.

Phreatic eruptions are "much more random", Poland said.

In addition to monitoring the volcano's current activity, researchers are scouring data from Kīlauea's extensive monitoring network - of tiltmeters, seismometers, and ground and aerial gas detectors - in search of any changes that preceded Thursday's event. More than 30 people were killed when a 2014 phreatic eruption at Japan's Mount Ontake are not aware of the summit.

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

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