An aviation red alert means a volcanic eruption is under way that could spew ash along aircraft routes, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says on its website.
A 4.2 magnitude natural disaster at the volcano at 8.36 a.m. (2.36 p.m. ET) prompted authorities to issue an alert reassuring rattled Big Island residents that there was no risk of a tsunami from the volcanic activity.
A shift in winds is expected to send the ash fall cloud from Kilauea into the southwest region of the erupting volcano summit, including the neighbourhoods of Wood Valley, Pahala, Punaluu, Naalehu, and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates.
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A plume of red ash rose from the volcano's Pu'u 'O'o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media. The residents of the village Plowed, located 28 km from the volcano, reported on air pollution. Fissure 17, which had put out a flow more than a mile toward the ocean, has not advanced since Tuesday, they said.
Ash emission from the Kilauea summit vent will likely be variable with periods of increased and decreased intensity depending on the occurrence of rockfalls into the vent and other changes within the vent. Most fissures have opened up in this subdivision or the adjoining Leilani Estates. Here's a breakdown of the current status of Hawaii Island's tourism offerings.
Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory is reporting that fissures 18 and 13 were briefly active overnight, but that 18 is slowing, and fissure 13 is no longer active, county officials said.
A phreatic eruption is a steam-driven explosion that occurs when water beneath the ground or at the surface is hated by lava or volcanic rock.
No major injuries or deaths have been reported from the eruption.