Rockfalls and explosions at the summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano shot ash into the air on Tuesday as residents for the first time in the 12-day eruption got text messages from county officials warning them the ash could cause eye and breathing irritation.
Kilauea volcano has gobbled up lush landscape, destroyed houses and caused almost 2,000 people to flee their homes. At any time, activity may increase the intensity of ash production.
Stars shine above as a plume rises from the Halemaumau crater, illuminated by glow from the crater's lava lake, within the Kilauea volcano summit at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on May 9, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.
Spectacular snaps capture lava spewing down the side of Kilauea, ash spitting from craters and plumes of smoke rising thousands of feet in the air.
Dr. Nair says students will still be visiting Hawaii's active volcanoes, but they'll be studying the Kilauea from a distance.
Ash has been wafting continuously from a vent in the crater reported as far as 18 miles away.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has already destroyed houses and threatened the island's tourism industry.
To date, at least 21 fissures have formed along a northeast-southwest line in the rift zone, most in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, which was evacuated more than two weeks ago. Of the 21 fissures, 17 is the longest, and has been shooting lava like a fountain and "sending spatter more than 100 feet into the air", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.
CNN's Stephanie Elam said her heart started pounding as she approached one fissure.
Road crews put metal plates over steaming cracks on nearby Highway 130 and reopened it to give coastal residents an escape route should a lava flow reach the ocean and block another road, Highway 137, Civil Defence said.
"It intensified today, but it wasn't the big one, so to speak", Michelle Coombs, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters Tuesday, according to KHON News.
The intense heat of this material hitting the water causes the water to boil, which in turn creates an explosion of steam, water, ash, rock, and lava bombs.
The observatory warned the eruption could become more violent.