Explosive eruption rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano - USGS

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               Some Hawaii residents leave as Kilauea spews ash        The Latest on the summit eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island

"At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent", the USGS said. "I think it's going to be a series of explosions similar to the one that happened this morning, and that's based on what happened in 1924, which is really our only analog". "We may have additional larger, powerful events".

Kevin Kushel, a resident of the island, said that Thursday's plume of smoke could be seen miles away. People have been warned to protect themselves from ash fallout.

Poland said the explosion likely only lasted a few minutes and that ash accumulations were minimal, with likely trace amounts near the volcano and at the town, named Volcano.

But those events were "not the big one" caused by interactions between hot rock and ground water, Coombs said Tuesday.

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Activity remains high on other parts of the island as well, at least 125 shallow quakes rattled the volcano's summit and surrounding communities on Wednesday.

In another news conference Thursday, the deputy scientist in charge of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, Steve Brantley, said the lava flows in the east rift zone have slowed in recent days.

He said: "I would like to also remind the rest of the world as well as the rest of the state, Hawaii Island continues to be open for business".

The lava lake had drained from the summit crater a number of the months previous - the scenario now being repeated.

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Residents with respiratory problems had already been warned to stay indoors in the area on Thursday following an early morning ash cloud eruption at the Halemaumau Crater. But this is not Kilauea's first massive eruption.

Earlier, a change in wind direction caused gas spewing from fissures to drift towards Pahoa, prompting national guard troops to don gas masks at a nearby road intersection. He's making sure the hundreds of evacuees that are using the shelter have food and a place to sleep, as well as any comfort they need during the stressful time.

Thursday's event was, if not the huge one, then certainly a big one, researchers told further. More than 30 people were killed when a 2014 phreatic eruption at Japan's Mount Ontake are not aware of the summit.

Their hope is to pinpoint warning signs that could be used to predict phreatic eruptions in Hawaii and elsewhere.

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