CHICAGO (CBS) — New lava fissures, ground deformation and abundant volcanic gases indicate eruptions on the eastern flank of are likely to continue. Authorities said three new fissures opened on Saturday and early Sunday, bringing the total number of lava outbreaks in and around Leilani Estates to 18.
Hawaii County Civil Defense officials urged residents of Hale Kamahina Loop Road to evacuate.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the 17th fissure, which opened Saturday night, was spattering but no lava flow had yet formed. The 16th fissure opened and spilled lava into an open field earlier in the day.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports the fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant. Plant workers last week removed 50,000 gallons of pentane stored at the site as a precaution.
Geologists warn that Kilauea’s summit could have an explosive steam eruption that would hurl rocks and ash miles into the sky.