After a week of lava and toxic gas spewing from fissures in the ground, geologists are warning that Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano could soon explode.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) have kept a constant eye on Hawaii’s Big Island where residents of the Leilani Estates community were asked to evacuate.
Dozens of buildings have been destroyed by the lava and lava flow from the fissures has covered at least 116 acres, according to a CBS report.
The lava line has been crawling closer to a geothermal power plant and employees of the now- closed plant have been working to remove dangerous flammable solvents from the plant in order to avoid any potential catastrophes.
It’s the steady stream of lava that is raising concerns of an explosion. As the lava lake in the crater of volcano recedes there’s a potential for the lava to come in contact with the groundwater and the resulting steam could cause a powerful explosion.
According to CNN, the explosions could send “ballistic projectiles,” some the size of massive boulders, hurtling towards the sky.
“As the lava levels inside the volcano drain lower, the danger of an eruption can actually increase,” writes CBS reporter Carter Evans. “When the molten rock reaches groundwater levels, pressurized steam can cause an explosion, shooting rocks and ash miles away from the crater.”
An explosion like this has occurred on the island before in 1924 and rocks weighing almost 15 tons along with ash and steam were sent five miles into the air.
Residents have been warned about the potential for acid rain, ash, and dangerous eruptions, and the USGS reports that activity at the summit of the volcano is elevated.