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

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In little more than a week, the top of the lava lake has gone from spilling over the crater to nearly 970 feet (295 meters) below the surface as of Thursday morning, Mandeville said.

At least * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/201171" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *26 homes in Leilani Estates have been destroyed by lava flows since a May 4 natural disaster in the area.

Editor's Note: We will provide more information at the News Media Teleconference call on Thursday, May 10, 11 a.m. Hawai'i Standard Time. Out of the island's 4,028 square miles, only less than a 10-square-mile area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivisions in Puna is affected.

Police say a Leilani Estates resident returned to his home Wednesday to retrieve personal belongings when he saw the man leaving his house. Lava was flowing from the new vent, with officials enforcing mandatory evacuations that have been in place since last week.

Some residents have refused to leave because of fears their homes will be looted. He expected it would all be removed by Thursday.

The plant is across the highway from where lava has been erupting in the Leilani Estates residential neighborhood.

"There were a number of people at their residences", Talmadge Magno, the administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense, said at a news conference.

In addition, ash clouds can spread over "much wider areas" than before, covering "up to several tens of miles" from the volcano, the USGS said, reminding of the historic 1924 eruption, when some 50 explosive events over two and a half weeks saw rocks weighing as much as 14 tons being thrown in the air.

The agency says the volcano may eject blocks up to 2 yards (1.83 meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (1.61 kilometer) away.

Pebble-sized projectiles will be shot for miles downwind towns will be pelted with volcanic ash and smog. While the gas that would be emitted in the explosions will mainly consist of steam, it would also contain the hazardous dioxide, the geologists warned.

Residents who live around the Kilauea summit should beware of the risk of ashfall, stay informed of the status of the volcano and area closures and review family and business emergency plans.

Lava shot through another crack on Hawaii's Big Island Wednesday, threatening a nearby power plant. Instead of trying to come up with ways to stop the unstoppable, authorities suggest it's better to use their resources to educate residents on evacuation preparedness and public awareness of the dangers.

The vents emerged on Tuesday near the spots where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.

Authorities previously ordered almost 2,000 residents to leave the neighborhoods in and around the vents in the mostly rural district of Puna.

No one lives in the immediate area of the summit crater. Police followed up with personal visits.

The current lava lake draining makes Kilauea ripe for another series of blasts.