New Fissure From Kilauea Volcano Spawns Near Geothermal Plant


Geological Survey warned Wednesday that an explosive eruption could happen soon - though there's no way to tell when or if it will.

Gallery of volcanic eruptions.

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been spitting lava for a week, destroying dozens of homes.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials urged residents in a community near Kilauea Volcano to be vigilant amid ongoing volcanic activity and hazardous emissions - and to be prepared to evacuate on short notice, CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB reports.

Steaming ground cracks from volcanic activity, the first signs a fissure may open, closed roads in areas to the northeast and southwest of Leilani Estates, where scientists believe the next lava vents may appear.

No significant lava flow has been reported so far.

The subdivisions of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens are under mandatory evacuations, with residents describing fissures in the streets emitting steam or lava.

Since the eruption started more than a week ago, 36 structures, including 27 homes, have been destroyed.

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

Plant workers this week removed 50,000 gallons of pentane stored at the site as a precaution.

Geologists warned on Friday that a steam-driven eruption from the summit's Halemaumau crater could spew ash plumes 6100 metres high and spread ash and debris up to 20km. But scientists concurred that Hawaii is safe for visitors.

Trump approved the Hawaii governor's request declaring the state a "major disaster" late Friday night ahead of warnings that continuing volcanic eruptions could cause huge damage to the islands and its residents.

"This opens the door to federal assistance and demonstrates a solid partnership with the federal government as we work to keep Hawaii residents safe and support recovery efforts on Hawaii Island", Ige said in a written statement released to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.