Hawaii volcano explosions could go for weeks, experts say

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Scientists are predicting an eruption that shot ash almost 9 kilometres into the sky could be the first of a series of powerful explosions to rock Hawai'i's Kilauea volcano, reports SBS News.

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. In another video from a reporter catching literal ash from the sky.

Scientists say earthquakes may shake loose rocks underground and open up new tunnels for lava to flow.

The area southeast of Kilauea volcano's summit is in a rural, remote part of Hawaii Island on its eastern edge, far from any major resort areas.

Most residents found only thin coatings of ash, if they saw any at all, as winds blew much of the 30,000-foot (9,100-metre) plume away from people.

"It's just time to go - it really, really is", she said, preparing to leave town.

Scientists warned May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for a large explosion.

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Hawaii County officials have warned residents about sulfur dioxide, which is so thick in one area that authorities evacuated a neighborhood. Eruptions are expected to continue over the coming days.

Michelle Coombs, from the US Geological Survey, described it as a "a big event that got people's attention but not with widespread impact".

The water would then flash into steam, "and steam as we know is a very powerful source of energy, a very powerful propellant", Rowe said.

Kilauea has erupted in this manner before, in the May of 1924, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory reported more than 50 explosive events more than the course of two-and-a-half weeks at the volcano's summit. After the initial explosion, emissions continued up to 12,000 feet.

This is because Kilauea is a so-called shield volcano, which is typically broader in shape and has lava that is relatively fluid. No further evacuations are necessary at this point, Magno said.

Whereas St. Helens sits along the geologically active boundary of the Pacific Plate, Kīlauea and the other Hawaiian volcanoes are powered by a hot spot deep within Earth's mantle.

Toby Hazel, who lives in Pahoa, near the mountain, said she heard "a lot of booming sounds".