Hawaii Mount Kilauea: Explosive eruption at volcano

BBC News
Reuters People in the community of Volcano watch an earlier, smaller ash cloud from Kilauea

An explosive eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has sent ash 30,000ft (9,100km) into the sky.

The US Geological Survey says the eruption took place at 04:15 local time (14:15 GMT).

Staff at the volcano observatory and the national park had been previously evacuated.

Since a new zone of Mount Kilauea began erupting almost two weeks ago, lava has wrecked dozens of homes and forced hundreds of people to be evacuated.

A red aviation code had already been issued - warning pilots to avoid the potentially damaging ash cloud.

The USGS had warned that an explosive eruption at Kilauea was becoming more likely as the volcano's lava lake was lowering.

This increases the risk of highly explosive steam-powered eruptions as the magma meets underground water.

Hawaii's emergency management agency advised local people to shelter in place if possible.

Warning from @CivilDefenseHI that an explosive eruption has occurred at #Kilauea. Ash plume expected to spread to SE. Driving conditions may be dangerous. Shelter in place if you can.

End of Twitter post by @Hawaii_EMA

Kilauea is one of five active volcanoes on the island of Hawaii.