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Rocks as big as cars are about to blow from Hawaii’s volcano, scientists predict

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Fourteen more lava-filled fissures have erupted in the days since the sloping sides of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano split open a week ago, spurting molten rock onto the surrounding neighborhoods’ streets and destroying 36 structures. But so far, Kilauea’s summit has yet to blow.

That could soon change, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warned Wednesday night. The volcano’s summit could erupt in the coming weeks, and projectiles as large as two yards in diameter — which USGS volcanologist Wendy Stovall described to VICE News as “automobile-sized” — could fly as far as about half a mile away in all all directions.

As more and more fissures split open, the lava lake inside Kilauea’s summit caldera at Halemaʻumaʻu’s “overlook crater” continues to drop. (The caldera, different from a crater, is a sunken basin on a volcano.) If that magma plummets to the level of the groundwater inside Kilauea’s caldera, water could seep into the volcano’s magma. The resulting explosion of steam could rocket gas and rocks upward.

“The whole thing just pops the cork,” in the words of Denison University volcanologist Erik Klemetti.

If that cork does pop, lava likely wouldn’t actually ooze out of Kilauea’s summit, since since much of the magna already flowed out through the fissures. But an eruption could send ash and dangerous sulfur dioxide — and, of course, the car-sized projectiles — streaming out.

Fourteen more lava-filled fissures have erupted in the days since the sloping sides of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano split open a week ago, spurting molten rock onto the surrounding neighborhoods’ streets and destroying 36 structures. But so far, Kilauea’s summit has yet to blow.

That could soon change, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warned Wednesday night. The volcano’s summit could erupt in the coming weeks, and projectiles as large as two yards in diameter — which USGS volcanologist Wendy Stovall described to VICE News as “automobile-sized” — could fly as far as about half a mile away in all all directions.

As more and more fissures split open, the lava lake inside Kilauea’s summit caldera at Halemaʻumaʻu’s “overlook crater” continues to drop. (The caldera, different from a crater, is a sunken basin on a volcano.) If that magma plummets to the level of the groundwater inside Kilauea’s caldera, water could seep into the volcano’s magma. The resulting explosion of steam could rocket gas and rocks upward.

“The whole thing just pops the

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https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/59qz38/rocks-as-big-as-cars-are-about-to-blow-from-hawaiis-volcano-scientists-predict

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