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AP's commitment to independent, comprehensive journalism has deep roots. The threat was significant enough, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud, that some first responders were pulled back from their positions on Thursday to safer areas.
Staffs from HVO and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had already evacuated the area.
A U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist described the pre-dawn explosive eruption at the summit of Kilauea as "short-lived" and not having a "widespread impact".
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted from its summit early Thursday, shooting a huge plume of ash miles into the sky and prompting authorities to urge area residents to take cover.
The volcano erupted on Thursday morning and molten rock has been spewing out since then.
Lava continues to spatter from one of the most active volcanic fissures, though the activity has slowed over the last two days. 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.
Officials have said they did not expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of the park.
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Volcanologists aren't expecting Kilauea's eruptions to be almost as unsafe, but they could still pose a threat.
Residents who live in a nearby town reported light amounts of ash after the eruption.
Mount Pinatubo last erupted in 1991, killing more than 350 people in what became the second-largest eruption of the 20th century.
"When that happens, the groundwater gets superheated, flashes to steam and can generate big explosions", Malone said.
Tarson said the ash plume looked different than others he's witnessed because of its sheer height.
Some Big Island residents had feared "the big one" after Kilauea shot anvil-sized "ballistic blocks" into the visitors' auto park on Wednesday and was rocked by earthquakes that damaged buildings and cracked roads in the park that was closed last week.
"This is the sort of explosive activity that was anticipated", said USGS geophysicist Mike Poland, who was based at Kilauea from 2005 to 2015.
Geologists had warned explosive eruptions could begin once Kilauea's falling lava lake descended below the water table, allowing water to run on to the top of the lava column and create a steam-driven blasts.