Senate Passes Bill to Strengthen Volcano Monitoring Capabilities

The volcano as seen from the Space Station

The volcano as seen from the Space Station

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spewed ash almost six miles (9 km) into the sky on Thursday and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.

Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, confirmed the explosion on Thursday. We have to watch it very closely, and always under the mantra of the safety and security of our guests is the No. 1 priority, ' he told Seatrade Cruise News. "You should shelter in place if you are in the path of the ash plume", county officials said.

"Protect yourself from ash fallout", it said. As the volcano continues to erupt, the lava lake at Kilauea's summit is draining below the water table, allowing groundwater to seep into the system.

An explosive eruption occurred at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano Thursday, officials said, and authorities warned that an ash plume is expected to cover the surrounding area. Hirono said. "This bipartisan bill supports their important efforts by updating and unifying the five volcano observatories across the nation and creating a grant program to support monitoring research and technology development".

But phreatic eruptions can still pose a deadly threat to anyone near the eruptive vent - and they are extremely hard to forecast, Poland said.

"Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are working around the clock to provide critical, up-to-date information to keep Hawai'i Island residents safe", Sen. "It's not going to be the only one". 37 houses have been burned by lava coming out of volcanic fissures. There are no inhabited areas within half-mile of Kilauea's summit; the primary risk would be to visitors entering the area, which is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift northwest towards Pahoa, prompting National guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection, according to a Reuters reporter.

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Several schools closed due to the levels of ash in the air, and locals who live near the volcano are evacuating.

Grange said the best thing to do when in an area where sulfur dioxide levels are at condition red is to "get out of Dodge".

There have been no deaths or serious injuries reported during the current eruption. "That depends on the local communities and how well their civil defense, or national guard, or police are attuned", he said. New radar measurements estimate the volcanic ash plume to reach 30,000 feet.

Hawaii emergency officials urged area residents to shelter in place if possible, warning that driving conditions could be unsafe.

Kevin Kushel, a resident of the island, told AFP that Thursday's plume of smoke could be seen miles away.

Thursday's eruption lasted only a few minutes, said Coombs who called it "a big event that got people's attention, but did not have widespread impact". Scientists said the molten rock there could start moving faster if fresher, hotter magma emerges from the ground.

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