Puna warned series of quakes could indicate eruption is possible

Puna warned series of quakes could indicate eruption is possible

Puna warned series of quakes could indicate eruption is possible

Hawaii's Big Island is on alert for an eruption of the mighty Kilauea volcano after dozens of earthquakes rocked the site.

The constant activity of a lava lake produced overflow onto the crater floor.

A magnitude 4.6 magnitude natural disaster struck the south flank of Kilauea Volcano at about 10:30 a.m. today, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported.

Research geophysicist at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory Jim Kauahikaua told Hawaii News Now that the current seismic activity is similar to that of an eruption in 1955 when 24 separate volcanic vents opened for three months.

Kilauea volcano sits to the southwest of the Hawaiian island in an national park that's a popular spot for hikers and tourists.

"There is a general trend of migration of seismicity eastward".

The latest quake is the largest in hundreds of magnitude 2.5 and larger tremors over the last few days which scientists say is a possible precursor of a new lava outbreak from Kilauea volcano's lower east rift zone.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has reported that there's a slight drop in intensity of magma intrusion in the area along the east rift zone. Scientists say if conditions persist a new vent could form on either side of the existing Puu Oo cone or on an adjacent area. Magma is now accumulating "at shallow depths" beneath the existing Puu Oo eruption.

"Residents should heed all advice offered by Civil Defense and take the actions recommended by Civil Defense to prepare for a possible eruption".

"Should an eruption occur, residents along the East Rift Zone may have little warning", said Magno, "Residents in that area should be prepared to evacuate".

On Thursday, a civil defense statement said that the frequency of the minor earthquakes had decreased, compared to the preceding days. "The risk areas and possible hazards are being identified, and shelters have been identified". And a local charter school was also closed on Thursday.

Hawaii County closed the Kalapana lava viewing area as well.

Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes - a lot of them around 2.0 magnitude - have been recorded in the area.

Hawaii County officials reported Wednesday that a road in the Big Island's Puna District was closed after it was damaged by earlier quakes.

It's impossible to say where an eruption might happen.

Babb said recent measurements indicate lava is already moving under an important island highway.

In 2014, lava threatened Pahoa for weeks, destroying several structures and closing roads. It continued until March 2015, when another vent opening redirected the lava flow toward the ocean.

Hawaii's mayor's office also released a statement regarding the same, confirming the county, state as well as federal officials were making preparations for a likely eruption.

"As of about noon on Wednesday, May 2, these earthquakes continue along the lower East Rift Zone, with many reports of earthquakes felt by residents in nearby subdivisions".

In the last 24 hours, there have been nearly 70 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or greater. That eruption started in February 1955.

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