Scientists say they were caused by a series of earthquakes, including a magnitude-3.5 natural disaster located one-tenth of a mile beneath the summit of Kilauea Volcano at around 11:30 a.m.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) the eruption occurred about 5 a.m. local time as the steam-driven blast spewed volcanic ash and smoke from the crater on Big Island.
The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency issued a warning to those in the pathway of the Hawaii volcano ash plume, saying people should shelter in place.
Residents who live in a nearby town are reporting light amounts of ash after a summit eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.
Aloha Junction Bed and Breakfast owner Robert Hughes says there were a few small earthquakes Wednesday but he heard nothing Thursday when the volcano erupted.
The plume of ash will cover the areas surrounding Kilauea, and the wind is predicted to carry the ash toward the southeast.
Part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory is perched on the rim of Kīlauea's summit caldera. Hawaii volcano's "explosive eruption" after weeks of lava flowThe lava that has emerged over the last two weeks has destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures. But he said some people may choose to stay behind because they are self-sufficient. Much of the park remains closed. They will have to rely on remote observations, he said.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of five on Hawaii's Big Island.
"Things seem to be progressing largely as they have been, except for a shift in wind and less ash", Poland said.
Scientists warned on May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for an explosion that could fling ash and boulders the size of refrigerators into the air. Communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-size fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash, they said. It's one of five volcanoes that comprise the Big Island of Hawaii, and the only one now erupting.