Neither of Fuego’s eruptions were anywhere near that large. And a Krakatau-scale explosion of a shield volcano like Kilauea is never going to happen, Dr. Segall said.
Not that there haven’t been a few small explosions on Kilauea in the past month. These may have been the result of hot magma contacting groundwater, which then flashes into steam. But the explosions were predictable and relatively small. Only one injury occurred.
Kilauea has experienced “fountaining” of lava, where the molten rock is thrust a hundred feet or more into the air as gas bubbles out of it. Dr. Segall said that this suggests that the lava during this eruption contains more gas than usual.
Fuego has also produced lahars, essentially mudslides where the mud is actually volcanic ash and other debris. Lahars are usually cooler than pyroclastic flows — they occur sometime after the eruption, when the ash has settled on the ground — but they can be extremely destructive and deadly, burying houses and people in their path.