Hawaii residents shaken by quakes, brace for new lava outbreaks

Hawaii residents shaken by quakes, brace for new lava outbreaks

Hawaii residents shaken by quakes, brace for new lava outbreaks

The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island is continuing to blow off toxic steam and release lava, but scientists now say there are signs it could be about to explode in a once-in-a-century eruption.

However, even if Kilauea does begin an explosive eruption, geologists say it will not be an event like Mount Saint Helens or other major eruptions.

More destructive lava flows could soon hit Hawaii's Big Island as the Kilauea volcano erupts, posing a greater threat than oozing magma that has so far destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands to evacuate, scientists said on Friday. If another blast happens, the danger zone could extend about 3 miles around the summit, land all inside the national park, Mandeville said. Then as Kilauea's magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 quake rocked the Big Island.

While Kilauea has the potential to fire rocks and boulders into the sky, no one resides in the immediate area of the summit crater, part of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which was set to be closed Friday. Brantley said that lava was more viscous and slower-moving.

No lava was reported from any of the 15 vents but "additional outbreaks of lava are likely", the US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

Neal said a chemical analysis of the lava that's erupted since last week indicated it's from magma that had been stored in the ground since a 1955 eruption. Adding to the distress, of the 36 structures destroyed, 26 were homes.

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What followed was a flurry of earthquakes as huge volumes of magma - the term for lava beneath the surface - drained back through deep-underground passages that carried the molten rock far downslope.

He said the declaration means federal assistance will be available as the state covers costs associated with damaged roads, public parks, schools and water pipes.

Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of five on the island.

Ross Birch, the executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said officials "walk the fine line". "We've had all the warning from Pele that anybody needs to make plans to take care of themselves".

"It can be very hard to distinguish individual "plumes" from these sulfur dioxide sources with the spatial resolution that we have from OMPS, but we are seeing what seems to be an overall increase that coincides with the latest activity", said Michigan Tech volcanologistSimon Carn.

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