Explosive eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano: U-M experts available

Jim Erickson
Release Date: 

An explosion within the Halemaumau crater at the Kilauea volcano’s summit today produced a volcanic cloud that reached 30,000 feet above sea level and drifted to the northeast. University of Michigan experts are available to discuss the event.

Ben van der Pluijm is an expert on geological hazards and their societal impacts. He is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“Any danger is limited to the easternmost part of the Big Island. These types of eruptions are not that violent, except the potential of occasional steam-driven explosions that throw ash and rocks around in a small area. Better to keep some distance, and evacuate, regardless,” he said.

“Fissure eruptions and slowly flowing lava are characteristic for the Big Island geology, with explosivity less common but recorded in prior eruptive events in the area as well. The origin of explosions is not the magma type, but heated water, somewhat analogous to a Yellowstone geyser.”

Van der Pluijm discusses the ongoing Kilauea eruption on his blog.

Contact: 734-678-1397, vdpluijm@umich.edu