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Explosive eruption in Hawaii

Pahoa, Hawaii: An explosive eruption spewed ash 9,144 meters into the air above Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Thursday and residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter as the plume engulfed a wide area, authorities said.

The wind could carry the ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island's largest city and major tourism centre, the county of Hawaii Civil Defence warned in an alert. "Protect yourself from ash fallout," it said. The 4 am (local time) blast sent ash and smoke nearly six miles into the atmosphere was followed by other emissions of up to 12,000 feet, the US Geological Survey said in a statement.

USGS geologists and staff were evacuated from the summit shortly before the blast and a webcam showed a grey plume of ash and chunks of magma. 

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