Kilauea volcano erupts, Hawaii hands out 18,000 ash masks

After an eruption from the Kilauea volcano's summit shot ash and smoke 30,000 feet into the air on Thursday, official...

Posted: May 18, 2018 10:24 AM
Updated: May 18, 2018 10:24 AM

After an eruption from the Kilauea volcano's summit shot ash and smoke 30,000 feet into the air on Thursday, officials handed out almost 18,000 masks to help residents deal with the fallout.

Rain kept the ash from going very far, and the ashfall was light, but officials still warned people in the area on Hawaii's Big Island to stay indoors and to use the masks.

US Geological Survey geologist Michelle Coombs described the event as "energetic, but short-lived" and said most of the debris ejected from the crater likely fell near the explosion site.

Officials expect volcanic activity to continue, citing a similar series of events in 1924 that lasted 2- weeks.

"This event is far from over," said Talmadge Magno, civil defense administrator for Hawaii County.

Magno said 18,000 masks that protect from particulates like ash were given out Thursday. More masks are on the way.

The masks do not protect against sulfur dioxide, a toxic gas that is still seeping from 21 fissures caused by volcanic activity. No new fissures, or vents in the ground, opened Thursday, he said.

Scientists with the USGS have not yet figured out the cause of explosions like the one that happened Thursday morning.

But they expect them to continue.

"At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent," the USGS said. "Ballistic projectiles may be produced should steam-driven explosions occur. Impacts will be limited to an area around Halemaumau."

Halemaumau is the crater within Kilauea's summit caldera.

Thursday's eruption is just the latest volcanic activity contributing to the nightmare on the Big Island since the volcano first went off on May 3.

An ash plume Wednesday rose roughly 12,000 feet into the air, and on Tuesday, the USGS issued a red alert, which means a major eruption is imminent or underway and ash could affect air traffic.

Recent explosions have been steam-driven, occurring when water beneath the ground or on the surface is heated by magma, lava, hot rocks or new volcanic deposits, the USGS says.

Hawaii County officials have warned residents about sulfur dioxide, which is so thick in one area that authorities evacuated a neighborhood. No further evacuations are necessary at this point, Magno said.

He was more concerned that people staying in an area authorities are concerned about will lose their utilities.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige complimented the response of residents and the pre-explosion work done by authorities.

"We had prepared for the event," he said.

The governor also told potential tourists to come.

"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. "The eruption site and the lava flows are in a very small portion of the island."

The international airports in Hilo and Kona are open, officials said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 726600

Reported Deaths: 13379
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion992781737
Lake53359964
Allen40387675
St. Joseph35449550
Hamilton35440408
Elkhart28376439
Tippecanoe22336217
Vanderburgh22271396
Porter18637306
Johnson17876377
Hendricks17154314
Clark12919191
Madison12574339
Vigo12426245
Monroe11845169
LaPorte11773210
Delaware10615185
Howard9859215
Kosciusko9366117
Hancock8239140
Bartholomew8042155
Warrick7766155
Floyd7645177
Grant7019174
Wayne7018199
Boone6669101
Morgan6547139
Dubois6148117
Marshall6000111
Dearborn578577
Cass5780105
Henry5681102
Noble558283
Jackson500472
Shelby489496
Lawrence4492120
Gibson434391
Harrison434271
Clinton426853
DeKalb425284
Montgomery423388
Whitley394439
Huntington387480
Steuben382957
Miami380266
Knox371890
Jasper362747
Putnam358560
Wabash353178
Adams340654
Ripley338970
Jefferson328881
White312854
Daviess295899
Wells290481
Decatur283592
Fayette278662
Greene276685
Posey270933
LaGrange264770
Scott264753
Clay259245
Randolph239781
Washington239532
Spencer231331
Jennings229248
Starke214452
Fountain211946
Sullivan211042
Owen197056
Fulton194640
Jay191830
Carroll188120
Perry182637
Orange182454
Rush172925
Vermillion168343
Franklin167735
Tipton162345
Parke145916
Blackford134532
Pike133034
Pulaski116045
Newton107034
Brown101541
Crawford99114
Benton98414
Martin87815
Warren81415
Switzerland7848
Union70710
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1080121

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1254981392
Cuyahoga1115202107
Hamilton798171200
Montgomery512711012
Summit46997933
Lucas41982782
Butler38273580
Stark32190907
Lorain24910480
Warren24249297
Mahoning21474586
Lake20586368
Clermont19727238
Delaware18496131
Licking16396210
Fairfield16144199
Trumbull15996466
Medina15233262
Greene15027244
Clark13960297
Wood13056188
Portage12806201
Allen11609231
Richland11308198
Miami10659215
Muskingum8795132
Wayne8777210
Columbiana8756229
Pickaway8547121
Marion8511135
Tuscarawas8467243
Erie7859154
Hancock6900126
Ross6835152
Ashtabula6777169
Geauga6665148
Scioto6398101
Belmont5856167
Union570047
Lawrence5542102
Jefferson5511151
Huron5422119
Darke5344122
Sandusky5330120
Seneca5268121
Athens518258
Washington5148109
Auglaize488484
Mercer480185
Shelby468593
Knox4479110
Madison435461
Putnam4268100
Ashland421289
Fulton420969
Defiance418997
Crawford3965106
Brown392957
Logan381176
Preble379098
Clinton370561
Ottawa366279
Highland353861
Williams338075
Champaign330458
Guernsey315453
Jackson312051
Perry294550
Morrow283839
Fayette281449
Hardin270364
Henry268166
Coshocton264258
Holmes2590101
Van Wert242863
Pike237433
Adams237052
Gallia235048
Wyandot230654
Hocking215162
Carroll191247
Paulding172440
Meigs144639
Noble133337
Monroe131942
Morgan108323
Harrison107537
Vinton82415
Unassigned02
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A cold start Saturday with widespread frost expected. We'll see plenty of sunshine for most of the day. Then, clouds build in during the late afternoon and evening.
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