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

There were no eruptions overnight, but the O'Neal said the situation is still unstable.

Authorities said: "Because there may be little to no advance notice to evacuate, you should be prepared to evacuate at short notice".

USGS scientist Tina O'Neal said Friday there are continuing high levels of quake activity and ground activity that suggests magma is still close to the surface.

She said hotter, fresher and gassier magma can result in more voluminous lava flows.

The national park around Kilauea was off-limits to visitors on Friday for fear the volcano would blow its top in the coming days and hurl ash and boulders the size of refrigerators kilometres into the air.

The current surge of volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island threatens to spill over into a series of massive explosions, ScienceAlert reported, citing researchers and local officials.

Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have changed their plans.

She had meant to visit Kilauea's summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. They view their trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity. She's anxious potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.

Hawaii officials have had a busy month pleading with travelers to keep their plans even as they're bombarded with images of natural disasters.

In April, floods on Kauai Island made travelers nervous.

A lava flow moves on Makamae Street after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPruitt dined with Cardinal accused of sexual abuse: report Kelly: No consideration on leaving White House despite "times of great frustration" Kelly: Trump "embarrassed" by Russian Federation probe MORE on Friday approved a disaster declaration for Hawaii as the state deals with damage from a volcanic eruption on its largest island.

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In a letter dated Wednesday, Gov. David Ige had asked Trump to formally declare the state a "major disaster".

The estimated cost to protect residents over the next 30 days is expected to exceed $2.9 million, according to the governor's office.

Ige says there's potential for a larger-scale evacuation as more fissures open. Hawaii County Civil Defense warning residents in lower Puna to remain vigilant, and be prepared to evacuated if necessary.

No one lives in the immediate area of the summit.

Vehicles wait in line to enter Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Thursday, May 10, 2018.

Tina Neal, the scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory, said geologists don't expect the summit eruption to be life-threatening so long as people stay out of the national park. The Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons (189,270 liters) of pentane. And with new fissures are opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious.

Authorities on Thursday completed the removal of highly flammable chemicals from a nearby geothermal power plant that was in the path of creeping lava.

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. Some two dozen homes have burned.

A summit blast could also release steam and sulfur dioxide gas.

The small, aptly named town of Volcano, Hawaii, population 2,500, is about 3 miles from the summit.

Scientists believe the lava that has been erupting has been stored in the ground since the last eruption 63 years ago.

The USGS reports that similar explosions are likely to happen again, especially after magma migrates into the rift zones on the volcano's flanks, which seems to be occurring now.


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