An explosive eruption rocked Hawaii's Kilaueau volcano on Thursday sending an ash plume thousands of feet into the air, according to tweets from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, confirmed the explosion on Thursday.
Michelle Coombes said the eruption had temporarily relieved some pressure in the volcano but there may be more, larger powerful events.
Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground during the two-week eruption.
Hawaii County officials say the volcano's summit exploded at 4:17 a.m.
Island authorities warned winds could carry the ash as far as the town of Hilo, about 50km away from Mount Kilauea, home to about 43,000 people.
Since a new zone of Kilauea began erupting nearly two weeks ago, lava has wrecked dozens of homes and forced hundreds of people to be evacuated.
The summit explosion of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano created booming sounds in the nearby town of Pahoa and resident Toby Hazel says she's had enough and is preparing to leave town.
The National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act unifies existing volcano monitoring systems and creates a national Volcano Watch Office that will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to monitor all active volcanoes in the US and its territories, according to Hirono's office.
News coverage of the Big Island events have been pretty balanced, Tolentino said, but noted that inaccuracies have not helped, especially when a national news outlet reported Oahu residents were forced to evacuate. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement after Thursday's vote.
The National Weather Service reports at 4 a.m. the radar estimates the height of the plume was around 30,000 feet. Several schools closed because of the risk of elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, a volcanic gas. Condition red means there is at least 1 part per million of sulfur dioxide in the air and that severe conditions may exist, such as choking and inability to breath.
The hope this time, he adds is that the extensive instrumentation on Kilauea and data collected from the latest eruption will allow scientists to develop better markers for predicting when a steam explosion is imminent.
"I don't think there is a big one that's coming", said University of Hawaii volcanologist Scott Rowland.
Scientists with the USGS have not yet figured out the cause of explosions like the one that happened Thursday morning.