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.
Some Big Island residents had feared "the big one" after Kilauea shot anvil-sized "ballistic blocks" into the visitors' vehicle park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.
In a news conference, USGS scientist Michelle Combs said that the activity at the vent could become more explosive again. "Ballistic projectiles may be produced should steam-driven explosions occur".
Hawaii's Department of Transportation said the wind was carrying the ash plume in a southeasterly direction, and if drivers should find themselves caught in it, they should pull over and wait until it passed.
The bill also creates a Volcano Watch Office that will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to provide continuous situational awareness of all active volcanoes in the USA and its territories, such as the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawai'i.
Some people in the community closest to the volcano slept through the blast, said Kanani Aton, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County Civil Defense, who spoke to relatives and friends in the town called Volcano. Another resident told NBC News that he only knew about the volcanic eruption because of a notice on his phone.
Hawaii County officials have warned residents about sulfur dioxide, which is so thick in one area that authorities evacuated a neighborhood.
The latest eruption took place early Thursday, local time. "We've been expecting this, and a lot of people are going to see it and get excited and scared".
Geologists warn that the volcano can become more violent, and that more damage could occur.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of five on Hawaii's Big Island.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, shown here on Capitol Hill on March 22, 2017, is touting a Senate bill that would combine all U.S. volcano monitoring activity. The lava seeping through fissures has forced the evacuation of almost 2,000 people 25 miles away near Leilani Estates.
Robert Hughes, a local hotel owner, told CBS News that he has lost business because of the volcano, but he did not seem to be too anxious about the actual danger from the lava or eruption.
Fissure No. 17 northeast of Lanipuna Gardens was active but with less lava being added to the flow, said Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge at Hawaii VolcanoObservatory. "Now they're acting like it's all super-dangerous and everything, but it just kind of oozes out".
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