Hawaii volcano Kilauea: Explosive eruptions,

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

Pic: Mario Tama/Getty ImagesKen Gadd, a first-time visitor from Dayton, Ohio, takes pictures of the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

An aerial view of the East Rift Zone, seen Wednesday, along which the Leilani Estates neighborhood sits, as seen from a helicopter flying around Pahoa.

The eruption of Kilauea is luring scientists to Hawaii, many of them come from the California Volcano Observatory.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist Tina Neal said Friday that an analysis of rock samples indicates the lava's chemistry is similar to that from a 1955 eruption.

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.

USGS scientist Tina O'Neal said Friday there are continuing high levels of quake activity and ground activity that suggests magma is still close to the surface. "If you're near the crater, within half a mile, you could be subject to ballistic blocks weighing as much as 10 or 12 tons", Donald Swanson of the Obervatory tells The Washington Post.

Vehicles wait in line to enter Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Geologists say it last erupted 11,000 years ago.

"This volcano is very unique and we're lucky that it's not as risky as other volcanoes and we're able to go and see it without having it pose a threat to our safety", said Holowath.

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Fortunately, the range of potential volcanic bombs would likely be limited. The volcano's internal plumbing could still prevent an explosion.

Steam and gas rise along the edge of Kilauea's summit crater.

The current surge of volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island threatens to spill over into a series of massive explosions, ScienceAlert reported, citing researchers and local officials. There are now 15 of the vents spread through the Leilani Estates and neighboring Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods.

Some residents are anxious about the geothermal energy plant that once housed 50,000 gallons of flammable material and some residents of Hawaii's largest island are untouched by the lava's damage.

The headlines pop up with alarming frequency: People of color going about their daily business - shopping, golfing, moving in - only to have the cops called on them. The group will spend nine days on the Big Island and four days on Oahu. It has destroyed 36 structures, including 26 homes.

No one lives in the immediate area of the summit crater. Volcano and other nearby communities may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash but they aren't expected to get hit by large boulders, she said. "Groundwater can mix with the magma and it will produce steam, and that can result in steam explosions". Based on this and field observations of the past two days, the lava lake level continues to drop.

"He said 'That lava's underneath your house, '" said Conda.

"This is a huge change". Forceful eruptions occur when magma (or underground lava) sinks to the water table. And once the lava drops below the water table, water hits rocks that are as hot as nearly 2,200 degrees and flashes into steam. Because of the potential danger, park officials say it isn't safe to allow people to remain inside the park. Many of these earthquakes are related to the ongoing shift of the summit area and earthquakes beneath the south flank of the volcano.

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