Hawaii Volcano Blog

HVO Reiterates Warning About Explosive Summit Event

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On the morning of May 9, 2018, a large rockfall in “Overlook crater” within Halemaʻumaʻu at the summit of Kīlauea triggered a gas-driven explosion that sent an ash plume several thousand feet skyward. Phreatic (steam-driven) explosions can create larger ash plumes; the 1924 explosions sent ash plumes up to 20,000 feet high. USGS photo.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory again cautions the public about the possibility of an explosive eruption at Halema‘uma‘u.

This is caused by the withdrawal of lava from Halemaumau’s summit lake, which leads to a phreatic (steam-driven) eruption. Such an eruption could generate ash plumes as high as 20,000 feet. The area affected by ash plumes could be as wide as 12 miles.

Should this occur, the following are advised:

  • The danger from this eruption is ash fallout. The major response is to protect yourself from fallout.
  • If this event occurs while you are at home, stay indoors with the windows closed. Turn on your radio and listen for updates from authorities.
  • If you are in your car, keep the windows closed. Ash fallout may cause poor driving conditions, due to limited visibility and slippery driving conditions. Drive with extreme caution, or pull over and park.
  • After the hazard is passed, do check your home, and especially your catchment system, for any impact that may affect your water quality.

This is precautionary information for your safety in the event that there is a Halema‘uma‘u explosive event. Hawai’i County Civil Defense wants everyone in the Volcano area to be ready, and to remain safe. Keep yourself informed and on the alert.


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