Geologists say Puna quakes similar to events leading to 1955 eruption

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"Should an eruption occur, residents along the East Rift Zone may have little warning".

"All agencies have been alerted about the possibility of an eruption", Magno said. "The preparations include the identification of shelters, mobilization of police and other security personnel to ensure residents' safety, and road crews to ensure access to evacuation routes", the statement said.

Spokeswoman Kanani Aton said that the agency is "planning ahead for a worst-case scenario" by reviewing emergency plans and monitoring the activity in conjunction with USGS officials.

Dozens of earthquakes rattled Hawaii's Kīlauea Volcano as underground magma moved into a new area which is located in the east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano of the Hawaiian Islands, the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials said Wednesday.

USGS crews have not seen any changes to the ground or roads in the area where the lava is flowing below the surface.

According to an evening message from Hawai'i County Civil Defense, scientists report "continuous low magnitude natural disaster activity along the east rift zone in lower Puna which includes Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, to the coastal area of Kapoho". Many events were felt by residents and there have been reports of almost constant ground vibration in some areas. A new crack with some seeping lava was found west of the Puu Oo vent Tuesday, but Babb said the opening did not take much pressure off the situation to the east. Messina noted that the lava viewing area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity. It's continuing to migrate to the east, she added.

The magma system beneath Kilauea's east rift zone has become increasingly pressurized.

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Scientists have installed additional Global Positioning System monitoring equipment and deployed crews to put in more monitoring tools, according to U.S. Geological Survey.

Babb said recent measurements indicate lava is already moving under an important island highway.

HVO is placing additional instruments along the rift zone to detect ground deformation.

Volcano experts believe that a river of rising magma is flowing down toward Puna, extending east, possibly under Highway 130.

In 2016, lava from Puu Oo crept down the east side of the volcano and reached the ocean for the first time in several years.

Swarms of earthquakes are being felt in the area, which could precede an eruption, said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory research geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua.

Geologists say that the seismic activity happening in Puna is eerily similar to the events that lead to an eruption of Kilauea in February of 1955.