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Kilauea volcano. Hawaiian Islands, United States

Kilauea Volcano. Hawaiian Islands, United States

In the early morning hours of March 19, 2008, Halemaʻumaʻu experienced its first explosive event since 1924 and the first eruption in the Kīlauea caldera since September 1982. A steam vent that had recently opened near the overlook area exploded, generating a magnitude 3.7 earthquake, and scattering rocks over a 75 acre area. A small amount of ash was also reported at a nearby community. The explosion debris covered part of Crater Rim Drive and damaged Halemaʻumaʻu overlook. The explosion did not release any lava, which suggests to scientists that it was driven by hydrothermal or gas sources.
This explosion event followed an increased sulfur dioxide gas levels from the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. The dangerous increase of sulfur dioxide gas has prompted closures of Crater Rim Drive between Kīlauea Military Camp south/southeast to Chain of Craters Road, Crater Rim Trail from Kīlauea Military Camp southsoutheast to Chain of Craters Road, and all trails leading to Halemaʻumaʻu crater, including those from Byron Ledge, ʻIliahi (Sandalwood) Trail, and Kaʻū Desert Trail.

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