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Scientists believe lava that's been erupting is magma that's been stored in the ground since Kilauea volcano erupted 63 years ago. The volcanic vents have oozed relatively cool, sluggish magma left over, according to scientists, from a similar event in 1955.

The problem is the lava lake at the summit of Kilauea is draining fast, about 6.5 feet per hour, Mandeville said.

Experts fear Kilauea volcano on Hawaii island could send ash and boulders the size of refrigerators miles into the air.

On Friday, the officials widened the radius of their warnings as volcanic instability on the Big Island intensified.

Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have changed their plans.

She had meant to visit Kilauea's summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. They view their trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Janet Coney, office manager of the Kilauea Lodge, an inn and restaurant, said officials told her lodge employees probably won't have to worry about rocks raining down on them but might experience falling ash.

In April, floods on Kauai Island made travelers nervous. But on Thursday, there were signs it could soon explode and widen the disaster.




South of Leilani Estates, in the Kalapana-Seaview neighborhood, residents are on high alert as the air quality is low and there are very few ways out of the area if an evacuation is ordered. This forced evacuation of more than 10,000 people from within the danger zone.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park around the summit was closed to visitors on Thursday, given risks of the first explosive eruptions in almost a century.

No one lives in the immediate area of the summit crater. It's within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which plans to close Thursday night. Natural disaster activity overnight was concentrated on the east side of the existing fissures in Leilani Estates, which continue to discharge high levels of sulfur dioxide gas.

Active eruption of lava from fissures some 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) east of the summit has paused.

George Szigeti the CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the agency that promotes Hawaii to the world, said Kilauea is being monitored around the clock in order to provide the public with the best information. And with new fissures opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more anxious. She said the eruption was Pele's way of correcting overpopulation of the island.

Authorities on Thursday completed the removal of highly flammable chemicals from a nearby power plant in the path of lava. The coffee farms on the Kona side of the island, which is more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from where lava is erupting.

It sits on the edge of Leilani Estates, one of the areas where almost 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate as Kilauea continues to spew lava.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials urged residents in a community near Kilauea Volcano to be vigilant amid ongoing volcanic activity and hazardous emissions - and to be prepared to evacuated on short notice, CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB reports. Some two dozen homes have burned. As Maddie Stone at Eartherreports, the summit crater is fed by a larger chamber of magma beneath the volcano via a narrow passageway. But so far, the sequence of events seems similar to explosive eruptions that took place at the volcano in 1924.


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