An explosive eruption occurred at Kilauea's summit early on Thursday, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports.
In a Facebook post, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned that the eruption’s ash plume will cover the surrounding area. “The wind will carry the plume toward the southeast. You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume. Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves,” it wrote.
Some 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 14 days ago.
On Wednesday, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory reported that “dense ballistic blocks” up to 2 feet across were found in the parking lot a few hundred yards from the volcano’s Halemaumau pit crater. “These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity,” it explained.
“Deflation is ongoing,” scientists added, referring to the“ deflation” of Kilauea’s caldera, or “lava bowl.” A BBC report notes that this causes stress on the volcano’s base, fueling eruptions.
Part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory is perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera.
The volcano, one of the most active in the world, has already destroyed dozens of homes since its latest eruption began. President Trump declared a major disaster area in Hawaii on May 11.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers