May 17, 2018, 9:57 PM ET

New eruption at Hawaii Kilauea volcano prompts evacuation, produces volcanic ash cloud higher than Mount Everest

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A powerful but short-lived explosion occurred at the summit of the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, producing a massive volcanic cloud, officials said.

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The cloud reached 30,000 feet above sea level -- higher than Mount Everest, officials said at a news conference.

Staff from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park were evacuated and officials warned residents in the path of the ash plume to shelter in place. Officials later said the ash fall was mostly localized.

PHOTO: A view is captured from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in Kilauea, Hawaii, May 17, 2018.USGS via Polaris
A view is captured from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in Kilauea, Hawaii, May 17, 2018.

PHOTO: This May 17, 2018, image provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a view of the ash plume resulting from an early morning explosion at Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii.U.S. Geological Survey/HVO via AP
This May 17, 2018, image provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a view of the ash plume resulting from an early morning explosion at Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii.

PHOTO: This photo provided by U.S. Geological Survey shows the ash plume at the Kilauea Volcano, taken from a Mauna Loa webcam, on May 17, 2018, in Hawaii.U.S. Geological Survey/HVO via AP
This photo provided by U.S. Geological Survey shows the ash plume at the Kilauea Volcano, taken from a Mauna Loa webcam, on May 17, 2018, in Hawaii.

Activity may become more explosive at any time, the U.S. Geological Survey said today, "increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent" within Halemaumau Crater at the volcano's summit.

PHOTO: Ash plume rises following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, on May 17, 2018.USGS/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Ash plume rises following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, on May 17, 2018.

The newest eruption follows a damaging earthquake, dangerous volcanic smog and large lava flows that are all threatening Hawaii's Big Island.

Kileaua erupted May 3, and since then, fissures have been steadily cracking open near residential areas. Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed, officials said.

Volcanic smog -- known as "vog" -- is now being emitted by the fissures, traveling toward populated areas and threatening residents with dangerous sulfur dioxide.

PHOTO: People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaiis Big Island, May 15, 2018, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Mario Tama/Getty Images
People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, May 15, 2018, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

One man and his pregnant wife said they and their toddler had just moved to the island from Seattle when the volcano erupted.

This morning, they decided to evacuate because it was too difficult to breathe.

"This is no condition to give birth to a baby in," the young mother told ABC News.

Her husband added, "You put your pregnant wife on an airplane and send her off to Hawaii, you're not thinking the volcano is gonna wreck everything."

PHOTO: This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows lava spattering from an area between fissures 16 and 20 at 8:20 a.m. HST from the Kilauea Volcano, May 16, 2018.HO/AFP/Getty Images
This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows lava spattering from an area between fissures 16 and 20 at 8:20 a.m. HST from the Kilauea Volcano, May 16, 2018.

PHOTO: Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaiis Big Island, May 16, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii.Mario Tama/Getty Images
Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13 on Hawaii's Big Island, May 16, 2018, in Pahoa, Hawaii.

On Tuesday, large rock falls into the Halemaumau Crater created a giant series of ash plumes, and on Wednesday scientists found 2-foot-wide rocks that had been hurled from the crater in the parking lot a few hundred yards from Halemaumau.

"These reflect the most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity," the park service said Wednesday, citing U.S. Geological Survey data.

PHOTO: This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows a view uprift from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at 8:25 a.m.HST from the Kilauea Volcano, May 16, 2018.HO/AFP/Getty Images
This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey on May 17, 2018 shows a view uprift from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight at 8:25 a.m.HST from the Kilauea Volcano, May 16, 2018.

PHOTO: This May 15, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows incandescence observed at Fissure 14 around 10:30 a.m. HST at Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii.U.S. Geological Survey/HVO via AP
This May 15, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows incandescence observed at Fissure 14 around 10:30 a.m. HST at Kilauea Volcano, in Hawaii.

A 3.5 magnitude earthquake also struck near the summit of the volcano on Wednesday, damaging roads and buildings, rupturing water lines and causing a temporary loss of power.

PHOTO:
SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS: Additional lava flow reaches ocean from Hawaii volcano

Of the 20 fissures that cracked open with lava, the biggest was on Chris Berry’s 18-acre homestead.

“We noticed cracks in the road, and shortly afterward, it just blew. It was so fast,” Berry told ABC News. “Where the lava is now used to be a giant bowl -- it’s completely filled now.”

The pastureland where cows and sheep once roamed is now filled with a lake of lava 60 feet deep.

Berry, a father of three and Grammy-winning musician, said his home has been severely damaged by lava bombs and all but two acres have survived the lava’s onslaught. The volcanic eruption is harming his livelihood, he said, as he owns a music retreat and cultural center on his land.

PHOTO: Lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano as stars shine on Hawaiis Big Island, May 15, 2018, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.Mario Tama/Getty Images
Lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano as stars shine on Hawaii's Big Island, May 15, 2018, in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

PHOTO: Lava shoots into the night sky from active fissures on the lower east rift of the Kilauea volcano, May 15, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii.Caleb Jones/AP
Lava shoots into the night sky from active fissures on the lower east rift of the Kilauea volcano, May 15, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii.

News - New eruption at Hawaii Kilauea volcano prompts evacuation, produces volcanic ash cloud higher than Mount Everest

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CComments

  • John Cremer

    Why scientist are not telling anyone about how this 1 volcano is releasing as much greenhouse gasses in 1 hour as the US does in 1 day? Funny how science works, only look at facts that fits your ideals.

  • J.J

    Certainly is a spectacular event and fabulous photo op. Several great pics here at ABC. It seems if some simple precautions are taken people will not be in danger which is good. Of course, property in the area will change, but the people expect that.

  • TexasVulcan

    I cannot understand why anyone gets a home near an active volcano. Of course, I live in Houston and we flood regularly. Some people live in earthquake zones, others in "tornado alley".

    I doubt there is anywhere that is totally immune to natural disasters. You buy insurance and hope for the best.

  • Gabriel Lau

    Multi-Learning Educational Services employees do get pay. In a matter of fact, the administrative staffs all got federal fund salary now. Some employees resigned from Government of Guam and work full time for our organization.

  • Holmes

    Reminds me of people building homes below sea level in NOLA. Now the Taxpayers are on the hook...

  • Prophet With Honor

    I live in tornado ally and accept the risk, I will ask for help when needed.

    Stand Strong.

  • Omegacron

    See, that right there is why I sold off my beach house near the slopes of Mt. Wanahakalugi. And, by the way, that shot of the guy playing golf with a huge pillar of smoke in the background... that perfectly sums up the modern culture of Hawaii.

  • Artesia

    Not good. The island wants to grow.
    Heavy price. Mother nature is in control.

  • Indie6050

    My sister in law's sister lives there, luckily she is well on the other side of the island away from the volcano and lava flows, but she is getting earthquakes though.

  • SearingTruth

    I'm confused fellow citizens.

    Volcanic ash can be quite dangerous when inhaled because much of it consists of small sharp particles that cut lung tissue. Our bodies can deal with a little of it without incident, but even moderate amounts can lead to both immediate and long term damage. And beyond that it can kill rather quickly.

    It's just mind boggling that everyone within the vicinity of this fallout hasn't been evacuated.
    ST

  • Knute

    This volcano is a real ash hole.

  • raymond spada

    is this a sequel to Krakatoa 1883 ?

  • SMRT

    This eruption is far more interesting and credible than the one happening from the White House on Twitter.

  • Captain Shark

    So did someone find that little miniature taboo thingy that Greg had? If so, TAKE IT BACK TO THE CAVE!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!

  • Mark Audette

    From sea floor to summit (9,000 meters tall) Big Island is by far the largest volcano on earth. If any part of it were to collapse or slip off from a landslide the generated tsunami would be catastrophic across the entire pacific ocean.

  • Calibandawg

    Let no natural catastrophe get in the way of a good round of golf!

  • BWitched

    I have always heard Hawaiians were layed back kind of people, but the photo of the guys golfing with the volcano in the background...classic
    Stay safe Hawaiians...

  • d big

    My father-in-law was born and raised in Hawaii so I have been lucky to visit countless times, great place (every island) and great people, stay safe.

  • Phraughy

    I love a good natural disaster.

  • E Sverdrup

    Wow, lava bomb, what a good word. Stay safe Hawaiians, stay safe.

  • JeanSC

    FYI ABC "vog"is not a portmanteau of "volcanic smog." The words it combines are "volcanic" and "fog." "Smog" was created from "smoke" and "fog."

    I complained to USGS about their use of "ballistic" in front of the rocks ejected by Kilauea. "Ballistic" refers to the science [ballistics] of trajectories taken by objects launched into the air and falling down due mainly to the pull of gravity. If there were truly a "ballistic rock" erupted by a volcano, will USGS please tell me what a non-ballistic rock is erupted by a volcano? Is Pele making lava bombs with little rockets attached and guidance systems to direct their paths?