Earthquakes shake Hawaii near active volcano
HONOLULU (AP) — Earthquakes were damaging roads and buildings on Hawaii’s Big Island on Wednesday as ash emissions streamed from Kilauea volcano.
The strongest shaking was recorded around 8:30 a.m., measured as a 4.4-magnitude earthquake. The floor of the summit crater has also dropped about three feet, as the threat of a strong, explosive eruption at the top of the volcano loomed.
Ash spewed from the sum- mit at Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, though emissions decreased from Tuesday.
There were occasional bursts of ash coming from the crater causing ash to fall downwind to several communities, though there were only trace amounts, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Ash plumes on Tuesday had spouted as high as 12,000 feet into the air, scientists said.
These plumes are separate from the lava eruptions happening roughly 25 miles away from summit, where about 20 lava fissures have destroyed more than two dozen homes and forced the evacuation of about 2,000 residents.
Dense, large rocks roughly two feet in diameter were found in a parking lot a few hundred yards away from Kilauea’s summit crater, which reflect the “most energetic explosions yet observed and could reflect the onset of steam-driven explosive activity,” the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement, and continues to mon- itor activity.
Scientists say earthquakes may shake loose rocks underground and open up new tunnels for lava to flow.
Cracks formed on a highway near the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said the Hawaii Police Department. Much of the park remains closed.
“We’re all safe, and I wish they’d open the park back up, but they have to keep it safe for everybody,” said Ken McGilvray, an area resident. “We live on a volcano!”