Ash eruption at Kilauea summit was so strong, it registered as a 5.4 earthquake

© USGS via AP This image taken from video on Monday, June 4, 2018, and provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows lava from a fissure flowing into the ocean at Kapoho Bay at Kapoho on the island of Hawaii. After overrunning the town overnight and destroying hundreds of homes…

An eruption at Kilauea summit jolted the area with the force of a 5.4 magnitude earthquake and hurled an ash plume that reached 10,000 feet above sea level.

The ash explosion had been anticipated amid a flurry of earthquakes and increasing pressure, according to US Geological Survey. It erupted Wednesday at 4:07 p.m. local time.

The fallout from the ash may affect surrounding areas including Volcano and Pahala, warned the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

“If you are at home, stay indoors with the windows closed. If you are outside, seek cover,” the agency said.

When lava hits the ocean it sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.© USGS Volcanoes When lava hits the ocean it sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

More than 10 earthquakes that registered over 3.0 magnitude shook the area Wednesday and the USGS said it had been expecting an explosive event amid all the activity.

At least 12,000 earthquakes on Hawaii’s Big Island in the last 30 days

The volcanic gas and ash emission could affect air quality across the central and southern half of Big Island, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.

Kapoho Bay and Vacationland

Meanwhile, lava from Fissure 8 continued to creep, after inundating Kapoho Bay and decimating what could be hundreds of houses in the nearby communities of Kapoho and Vacationland.

“It completely covered the Vacationland subdivision as far as we know,” Dr. Jim Kauahikaua with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory told reporters on Wednesday.

Vacationland had about 150 homes and Kapoho, about 350 homes.

It’s still unclear how many homes in those two beach lots have been affected as authorities are looking to assess the damage, Hawaii Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said Wednesday. Authorities are using drones to assist in the tally.

With the two communities devastated, the number of people in shelters increased to 410 with one of the shelters reaching capacity, Magno said.

The lava’s entry into the ocean was also producing laze — a hazardous mix of acidic steam, hydrochloric acid gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass. Residents have been warned to avoid the area.

Here are some commonly used volcanic terms

CNN’s Dave Alsup contributed to this report.


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