The Hawaii Volcano Observatory warned: "At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles near the vent".
"This is the sort of explosive activity that was anticipated", said USGS geophysicist Mike Poland, who was based at Kīlauea from 2005 to 2015.
The volcano.it's a real dynamic situation up there. we could have additional events like this morning that punch up and then die back down really quickly. we could have more sustained ash.
"A lot of my friends from the mainland, they have been inundating me with, 'Are you OK?' A lot of them think we're (just) one island", she said.
Magno said 18,000 masks that protect from particulates like ash were given out Thursday.
Geologists said the 4:15am explosion was likely to be the first in a series of steam-driven explosions last seen in 1924, rather than "the big one" that nervous residents had been fearing. This may be a potential precursor of the Big One, when boulders are expected to fly.
USGS geologist Michelle Coombs giving a status update about Hawai'i's Kilauea volcano.
The activity at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is getting more interesting and more ominous.
The Arizona guard members helped Hawaii residents who lost their homes because of the fissures and lava covering and destroying their neighborhoods.
The lava lake had drained from the summit crater a number of the months previous - the scenario now being repeated. "Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles", the US Geological Survey said.
One person was killed by falling debris from the largest eruption. On the other hand, stratovolcanoes - which include Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines and Mount St. Helens in Washington State - are usually taller and have more viscous lava flows with trapped gas that can generate volatile explosions.
What is happening at Kīlauea is fundamentally different from that 1980 eruption, experts said. Whereas St. Helens sits along the geologically active boundary of the Pacific Plate, Kilauea and the other Hawaiian volcanoes are powered by inside the Earth's mantle. He's making sure the hundreds of evacuees that are using the shelter have food and a place to sleep, as well as any comfort they need during the stressful time.