Quakes on Hawaii Volcano Could Signal New Eruption

Recent earthquakes as of 1:28 p.m. Tuesday

The natural disaster was just one of hundreds of earthquakes that have swarmed the island, prompting concerns that Kilauea Volcano could erupt.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-5.0 quake on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at approximately 10:31 a.m. HST.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory confirms the cracks are caused by an underlying "intrusion of magma". "Residents in that area should be prepared to evacuate", Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said in a statement.

However, the agency added, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has indicated that a volcanic eruption was "possible but not imminent". An eruption could occur from Pu'u 'O'o to Kapoho. (U.S. Gelological Survey via AP) A layer of red ash on top of an active lava flow with surface breakouts on Kilauea volcano, seen on April 30.

National Park Service officials have shut down 16,000 acres of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as a precaution.

The crater floor of the Kilauea volcano suddenly collapsed triggering more than 250 small earthquakes in a matter of 24 hours, which continue to rattle the island's most active volcano.

"It appears that ground shaking from the natural disaster caused rockfalls in the Pu'u 'Ō'ō crater on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone, which resulted in a short-lived plume of reddish ash rising above the cone", said Tina Neal, HVO scientist-in-charge.

The tremors have been going on for days now, jarring residents, who've been reporting almost constant ground vibrations in some areas.

"To have these go for two days, it has now become unnerving", said Carol Shepard, a Leilani Estates resident. "It'd be like somebody that weighs 300 pounds came in my living room, and jumped up and down", she said.

Meanwhile, Pohoiki Road remains closed between Highway 132 and Leilani Avenue due to cracks. No steam has been reported from the cracks.

As it moves beneath the surface, the molten lava is breaking up rock and causing the ground to shift.

"An outbreak of lava from the lower East Rift Zone remains a possible outcome of the continued unrest,"according to the US Geological Survey".

Areas downrift of Puu Oo east of Highway 130 are the most likely spot for a potential outbreak to occur based on the location of the current seismic activity, according to officials and scientists keeping a close watch on the situation.

There is uncertainty where or when the lava outbreak may occur but almost 15,700 acres of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed off due to the "possibility of a new eruption and unstable geologic activity".

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