National

Hawaii volcano could have explosive eruption

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) -

The Latest on the eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii (all times local):

3:45 p.m.
    
Hawaii Gov. David Ige says a geothermal energy plant near a lava outbreak in Hawaii is accelerating its removal of stored flammable gas.
    
Ige said Wednesday the Puna Geothermal Venture plant has about 50,000 gallons of pentane on site. He says it would be "very hazardous" if a volcanic vent were to open under the facility where the fuel is stored.
    
He says the plant expects to finish removing the gas by the end of Thursday.
    
The plant is across the highway from where lava has been erupting in the Leilani Estates residential neighborhood.
    
Hawaii County Civil Defense says a 15th volcanic vent opened on Wednesday. This one is on the edge of the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision just east of Leilani Estates.

    
10 a.m.
    
Geologists say Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could erupt explosively and send boulders, rocks and ash into the air around its summit caldera in coming weeks.
    
The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday the risk will rise if the lava drops below the groundwater level beneath the summit's caldera or craterlike basin. That's because an influx of water inside could cause steam-driven explosions.
    
The agency says the volcano may eject blocks up to two yards (meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (a kilometer) away.
    
It may also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles (kilometers) away.
    
There's also potential for ash, steam and sulfur dioxide emissions.
    
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes.
    
It has destroyed 36 structures since it began releasing lava into a Big Island residential neighborhood last week.
    
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8 p.m.
    
Police have gone door-to-door to evacuate residents near two new vents emitting dangerous volcanic gases in Hawaii.
    
The vents emerged on Tuesday near the spots where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.
    
Authorities initially ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave two communities in the Big Island's mostly rural district of Puna last Thursday.
    
But the new vents prompted Hawaii County to issue a cellphone alert ordering stragglers in the Lanipuna Gardens area to get out immediately. Police followed up with personal visits.
    
Fourteen vents have opened since the current lava breakout began. The lava has destroyed 36 structures.


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