A geophysicist says a plume that's rising from the Kilauea volcano summit on Hawaii's Big Island does not contain as much ash as it did on Tuesday.

Mike Poland with the US Geological Survey said yesterday the plume seems to be made largely of rock dust.

Because there's little wind, the plume for the most part is rising vertically over the summit.

Lava shoots into the night sky from active fissures on the lower east rift of the Kilauea volcano on Tuesday. Photo / AP
Lava shoots into the night sky from active fissures on the lower east rift of the Kilauea volcano on Tuesday. Photo / AP

USGS scientists will not monitor the plume from a summit observatory because of fears of falling ash.

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Instead, they will operate from a backup command centre at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Warnings to pilots are still in place because of the plume that reached 3658 metres on Tuesday.

The volcano has been spewing lava from fissures that opened up on its flanks for two weeks.

- AP

People watch at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on Tuesday. Photo / Getty
People watch at a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on Tuesday. Photo / Getty