Kilauea could erupt with 'once-in-a-century' explosion, geologists warn

Hawaii Kilauea volcano could soon explode in once-in-a-century eruption

The plant, which is owned by Ormat Technologies of Reno, Nevada, is across a highway from where lava has been erupting. And with new fissures are opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious.

The threat of explosive activity will rise as lava drains from the summit of Kilauea and explosions will be possible in the coming weeks if the lava dips below the groundwater table, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. "If you're near the crater, within half a mile, you could be subject to ballistic blocks weighing as much as 10 or 12 tons", Donald Swanson of the Obervatory tells The Washington Post.

In this photo from video a lava flow advancing down a road is seen from less than 10 feet away in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii Monday, May 7, 2018. The added threat of an explosive eruption could ground planes at one of the Big Island's two major airports and pose other dangers.

Though volcanologists can no longer get close enough to the crater to gather readings, they are using airborne thermal imaging to peer inside.

"With that said, we are still in a period of significant potential aftershocks, so there is the possibility of certainly a large felt quake", Neal noted.

Already, the volcano has been experiencing small explosions. From left to right on the horizon: Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent near the left edge of the image, the gas plume from Halemaʻumaʻu crater near the middle of the image (when clear enough), and Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea farther to the right.

The Kilauea eruption last week created new volcanic vents on the ground miles east of the summit, releasing slow-moving lava and toxic gas into island communities. The now hardened black rock covering stretches of forested area around the vents that opened last week in the Leilani Estates area.

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige said a geothermal energy plant near the lava outbreak was accelerating its removal of stored flammable gas as a precaution. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant had about 50,000 gallons of pentane. The fuel was expected to be removed by the end of Thursday.

But for 1,500 of its 2,500 years as an active volcano, Kilauea has been predominantly in "explosive eruption" phases. "Not the place that we want people to be". "Life and safety is what's most important".

Local meteorologists said the change in prevailing winds could send Kilauea's volcanic smog, or vog, northwest to Maui and other islands in Hawaii.

I came here 27 years ago I knew the volcano was capable of producing an ash eruption. but I never thought that I would see the day and here we are. She said the eruption was Pele's way of correcting overpopulation of the island.

Kilauea can, however, experience more violent events as a result of something called a phreatomagmatic explosion, which occurs when searing hot magma interacts with water, sending ash and rock spewing into the sky.

At the current rate of change, that is about six or seven days away. From its peak on May 2 to the most recent measurement at 9 p.m. on May 6, the lava lake surface dropped a total of more than 200 meters (656 feet).

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