Scientists warn that Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is on the verge of a new explosion that could send ash, steam and sulfur dioxide spewing from the summit crater and toss six-foot wide boulders as far as a half-mile away in all directions.
“Primary hazards of concern should this activity occur are ballistic projectiles and ashfall,” according to the Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory of the U.S. Geological Survey.
The scientists, however, said they were uncertain exactly when the new eruption would occur, how long it would last or how violent it would be.
The say that as the volcano’s lava level falls, it will drop below the water table, generating steam that will send rock and ash flying.
“Steam-driven explosions at volcanoes typically provide very little warning,” the HVO says.
It said the “projectiles” emerging from the volcano could range from pebbles to rocks weighing several tons.