Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible

May 2, 2018 by Caleb Jones
Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible
This April 30, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows shows a layer of red ash on top of an active lava flow with surface breakouts in Kilauea Volcano near Honolulu, Hawaii. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the increased activity Wednesday, May 2, 2018, is associated with the collapse of the crater floor at the Puu Oo vent. (U.S. Gelological Survey via AP)

Dozens of earthquakes were rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano on Wednesday as underground magma moved into a new area east of the Puu Oo (POO'-oo OH'-oh) vent.

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the increased activity is associated with the collapse of the at Puu Oo, which is an open vent below Kilauea's summit crater and lava lake.

There were about 50 small quakes detected in the area on Wednesday morning alone.

Scientists say the activity could trigger a new and people are being told to stay away. USGS is sending two ground crews into the area Wednesday to install new monitoring equipment.

The Hawaii Department of Education said a school near the volcano has been closed due to the ongoing seismic activity.

The Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers.

Lava has moved down the east slope of the volcano and into the Big Island's Puna District. USGS geologist Janet Babb said the magma may have already gone under Highway 130, which leads to a popular volcano access point.

"Overnight it continued to push farther to the east, and so it's still very much an ongoing situation," Babb said. "Highway 130 crosses right over the East Rift Zone, so our best estimate is that it has extended beyond the area of Highway 130."

Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible
This April 23, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the extent of the large overflow of a lava lake in Kilauea Volcano near Honolulu, Hawaii. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the increased activity Wednesday, May 2, 2018, is associated with the collapse of the crater floor at the Puu Oo vent. (U.S. Gelological Survey via AP)

USGS crews have not seen any changes to the ground or roads in the area where the lava is flowing below the surface. A new crack with some seeping lava was found west of the Puu Oo vent Tuesday, but Babb said the opening did not take much pressure off the situation to the east. "Very, very little lava was issued from that crack."

Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency closed the area to visitors on Tuesday and ordered private tour companies to stop taking people into the region.

"Residents should heed all advice offered by Civil Defense and take the actions recommended by Civil Defense to prepare for a possible eruption," Babb said. "An eruption is possible because magma is clearly moving through the East Rift Zone and it could come to the surface. The possibility is definitely there, I can't give you a probability."

Babb said similar activity has been recorded prior to previous eruptions in the area. In mid-April the observatory issued an alert when scientists noticed Puu Oo was inflating and becoming pressurized.

If the magma breaks through the ground, lava fountains could shoot skyward and spread rock and other volcanic debris around the area. "Typically when an eruption first starts it's pretty vigorous," Babb said.

Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible
This May 1, 2018, photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a small lava flow (lighter in color) and spatter that erupted from a section of the crack on the west flank of Puu Oo vent of Kilauea Volcano near Honolulu, Hawaii. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the increased activity Wednesday, May 2, 2018, is associated with the collapse of the crater floor at the Puu Oo vent. (U.S. Gelological Survey via AP)

Most of Kilauea's activity has been nonexplosive, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton (9-metric ton) rocks into the sky, leaving one man dead.

Puu Oo's 1983 eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high. In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles (kilometers) of land and destroyed many homes.

Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible
This May 1, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the eruption at the summit of Kilauea Volcano near Honolulu, Hawaii. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say the increased activity Wednesday, May 2, 2018, is associated with the collapse of the crater floor at the Puu Oo vent. (U.S. Gelological Survey via AP)

In 2008, after a series of small earthquakes, Kilauea's summit crater opened and gushed lava and rock over 75 acres (30.35 hectares) of the mountain, damaging a nearby visitor overlook.

Last week, the lava lake at the volcano's summit rose and spilled over the crater edge, marking the largest lava inflation since it erupted in 2008. The latest activity at Puu Oo does not appear to have changed the summit .

In 2016, lava from Puu Oo crept down the east side of the volcano and reached the ocean for the first time in several years. The flow created new land along the shoreline, some of which later collapsed, opening a giant "firehose " stream.

Dozens of quakes rattle Hawaii volcano, eruption possible
In this April 23, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, Kilauea Volcano's Puu Oo vent is shown in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. A series of earthquakes and the collapse of the crater floor at the Puu Oo vent could trigger a new eruption of lava. Officials from the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said Tuesday, May 1, 2018 that activity over the past 24 hours could lead to a new breakout on the east side of the Big Island volcano. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

Explore further: Gurgling lava splashes up Hawaii volcano walls in rare video

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Joker23
not rated yet May 03, 2018
Am I missing something? Honolulu is on Oahu. Kilauea in on the Big Island of Hawaii. Why does a caption refer to this volcano and that it is ''Kilauea Volcano near Honolulu, Hawaii''? It's on a different Island!.....that's not close.

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