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Mar 20 / Dave Schumaker

Volcanic Blast at Kilauea

The first explosion in Kilauea’s main crater in 84 years happened yesterday as gravel sized rock rained down over an area of 75 acres. Scientists believe the blast was caused by gas buildup, as no lava actually erupted from the blast.

Note: Photo is from a previous eruption on Kilauea’s south flank

No lava erupted as part of the 3 a.m. explosion. That suggests it was caused by hydrothermal or gas buildup, Kauahikaua said.

Scientists monitoring the summit say that there’s a “remote possibility” of an eruption inside the half-mile-wide crater, but that it’s unlikely because other indicators of an eruption aren’t present.

“The recent explosive event represents a significant addition and change to Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing activity, and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is using every means available to study its causes and consequences,” Kauahikaua said in a statement.

More information from the Geoblogosphere
Andrew Alden’s Geology Blog at
Ron Schott’s Geology Home Companion Blog
The Volcanism Blog

More information from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is available here.

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