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A Rare Pink Ash Cloud Rose From A Volcano In Hawaii And People Thought It Was Both Beautiful And Terrifying
An earthquake shook the Big Island amid increased activity from Kilauea volcano, causing an unusual pink plume of ash to rise into the air.
On the Big Island of Hawaii, residents and tourists have been on alert after a volcano crater collapsed and hundreds of small earthquakes rattled the area, increasing the possibility of an eruption.
On Thursday morning, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake shook the Big Island, causing a giant plume of pink smoke to rise from the volcano.
Residents and tourists shared images of the unusual event, which was caused by the strong earthquake sending rocks and debris that are a reddish-brown color to rise thousands of feet into the air above the volcano.
The plume dissipated as it drifted southwest, dropping ash along the way.
"This is not the first time we've seen something like this," said Janet Babb, a geologist at the United States Geological Survey, but it is the first time it has been observed on the island in more than two decades.
Thursday’s quake was the largest of hundreds of small temblors to hit the island over the past few days.
The increased seismic activity started Monday when the Pu'u O'o vent, located at the Kilauea volcano’s east rift zone, experienced a crater floor collapse, causing magma to rush into new underground chambers.
Babb told BuzzFeed News that the earthquake Thursday did not significantly change the volcano’s activity and therefore did not warrant an increase of a volcanic threat.
An eruption is possible, although it has not happened yet, Babb told BuzzFeed News.
Residents of Hawaii’s Puna, the district where the magma is now flowing underground, have been advised to "remain alert" and should be prepared
County officials closed a portion of the road in Puna Wednesday after it was damaged by the quake swarm, but it was reopened Thursday.
A small section of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was also closed, although the majority of the new volcanic activity is outside of the area. Hawaii County officials also closed a lava viewing area in Kalapana, located in lower Puna.
"The magma has remained below ground, but it has migrated down the Rift Zone and it is near residential areas, so there is concern," Babb told BuzzFeed News. "Not every intrusion ends up producing volcanic activity at the surface, but that can happen, so eruption is possible."