D'oh! Hawaii Volcano Explodes After All

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Just yesterday, we posted an item concerning the heavy influx of toxic sulfur dioxide gas at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The poisonous gas forced park officials to close sections of the park, but they mentioned at the time that chances for an explosive eruption were minimal.

Oops.

Last night at 3 a.m., an explosion in Kilauea's main Halemaumau Crater shot debris over about 75 acres, damaging a wooden fence surrounding the crater and blocking paths and roads with rock hazards. It was the first explosion for the 4,190-f00t volcano since 1924. There wasn't any lava present, so park scientists think pressure built up from gases and hydrothermal activity caused the blast.

National Park officials expanded the closed-off areas in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and refined plans for evacuation, should more eruptions threaten the surrounding community with poison gas or debris danger. Despite this being the highpoint in a three-month escalation of activity on Kilauea, scientists caution that there's still only a remote possibility of a massive eruption inside the half-mile wide Halemaumau Crater.

They're the experts; I'm sure their prognostications are pretty on-point. But if I lived close by I'd be just a hair nervous, since that's what they said last time. — Ted Alvarez

Rare Explosion Jolts Hawaii Volcano (AP)