Dozens of residents in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii have been told that an eruption of Hawaii's most active volcano may be imminent.
According to Hawaii News Now, a series of small earthquakes erupted throughout the area near the Kilauea volcano over the last week, with more than 100 small quakes rattling the area in the last 24 hours.
There were more than 30 earthquakes Wednesday from midnight to 5 a.m. alone.
Officials told Hawaii News Now that the earthquakes were caused because the Puu Oo crater floor collapsed below the volcano’s rift zone.
"The seismicity on the lower east rift zone had declined and the tilt had slowed down, so that indicates that the intrusion has stalled or paused," said Janet Babb, a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist. "What we don't know is if this intrusive event is over or if it's just taking a pause and it may pick back up."
Babb told the New York Post that the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has seen similar activity in the past that led to volcano eruptions.Comment on this story
“We knew that change was afoot and we’ve seen this in the past, and so we have been kind of waiting and watching for whatever change that was going to happen to happen,” Babb said. “It happened yesterday afternoon.”
She said officials are worried the magma will move to more populated areas.
“Magma has now migrated into a lower part of the east rift zone,” Babb said. “The concern is that the intrusion migrated about 10 miles downrift into the area where Highway 130 is.”
The Hawaii Volcano Observatory will continue to monitor the lava activity, according to Newsweek. The National Park Service closed the volcano area to visitors on April 18 due to possible danger.