Kilauea could erupt with 'once-in-a-century' explosion, geologists warn

At Kīlauea when the lava column drops below the water table groundwater may come into contact with with magma or hot rocks causing violent steam explosions

The ASTER data also revealed "hotspots" on Kilauea - fresh lava flows, as well as a dozen newly formed fissures in the volcano.

Scientists can't be certain when the eruptions at Kilauea will stop.

Hazardous fumes continue to be released, putting in danger the health of residents and emergency crews.

These plagues sound nearly biblical in their frequency and fury.

The most recent volcanic activity actually started over 30 years ago, as the Kilauea has been in the process of erupting for that entire time.

A new explosion could send ash, steam, sulfur dioxide, and boulders spewing from the summit crater in all directions.

"What we've already been seeing is that chunks of the surrounding vents are just dropping off into the lava and that's why we're getting these small explosions", said Jessica Johnson, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

That's because a lava lake at the summit is dropping. The heavy clouds of smoke coming from the main crater on Wednesday were likely triggered by a rock fall from the crater walls.

Warnings about a "big one" natural disaster greater than magnitude-seven are often issued by seismologists looking to spread awareness of the dangers. But bigger blasts could be in store.

But a large crater called Halema'uma'u sits near the center of Kilauea, and it's filled with a lake of bright red and yellow lava.

The bulk of the Kilauea deaths, an estimated 400, were the result of an explosive eruption in 1790. Authorities went door-to-door in Lanipuna to get people out of their homes on Tuesday.

The elderly, infants and those who suffer from respiratory conditions and cardiovascular disease are especially vulnerable to serious health effects of vog.

Dr Margaret Mangan, a volcano researcher for USGS, said an eruption comparable - or worse - than the one blighting Hawaii could be possible in California.

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Scientists estimate that the lava could interact with the groundwater by the middle of this month. Those would be trouble. Scientists say lava levels in the crater are going down, meaning it might be clogging and building up for a mighty blast. Indonesia alone accounts for more than 145,000 volcano-related deaths since 1500, more than half the entire database.

The chances of the volcano's explosive summit eruption were high enough to close Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The small, aptly named city of Volcano, Hawaii, inhabitants 2,500, is about Three miles (4.83 kilometers) from the summit.

The first steam-driven explosive eruptions on Kilauea in almost a century may soon begin, dusting downwind communities with ash that is an eye and respiratory irritant, observatory scientists said. "We all know it's a distinct risk".

These sulfuric acid droplets can also fall with rain, creating acid rain, which can be as corrosive as diluted battery acid.

And the further the lava level drops, the more precarious the situation becomes.

Whereas saying she's unhappy to have misplaced her house, she additionally feels a way of renewal introduced on by Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, to right overpopulation of the island.

"There's been no clear evidence that vog causes lingering damage to normally healthy individuals".

How acid rain affects human health is more complicated.

"Walking in acid rain, or even swimming in a lake affected by acid rain, is no more risky to humans than walking in normal rain or swimming in non-acidic lakes", the EPA says.

This explosion could also eject unsafe amounts of ash, sulfur dioxide and acid rain. That includes rooftop rainwater-catchment systems that Hawaii residents use for drinking water. Thousands of people have evacuated since the volcanic activity began. Along with finding refuge away from the unstoppable lava's path, residents also have to watch out for the toxic sulfur dioxide fumes, known to cause respiratory failure, kill plants, and even tarnish auto windows.

Lava has destroyed at least 36 structures and covered more than 115 acres. Needless to say, ballistic lava rocks are something best avoided.

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