New lava fissure opens as Hawaii awaits explosive eruption

New lava fissure opens as Hawaii awaits explosive eruption
This Saturday, May 12, 2018, aerial image released by the Hawi'i County Fire Department, show a view of fissure 16, bottom right, that erupted this morning beginning just before 7:00 a.m. HST in the Big Island of Hawaii. The fissure is located roughly along the alignment of the earlier fissures, steam in top left photo, and 1.3 km (0.8 miles) northeast of fissure 15 and Pohoiki Road. Warnings that Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could shoot boulders and ash out of its summit crater are prompting people to rethink their plans to visit the Big Island. But most of the rest of the island is free of volcanic hazards, and local tourism officials are hoping travelers will recognize the Big Island is ready to welcome them. (Hawi'i County Fire Department via AP)

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — New lava fissures, ground deformation and abundant volcanic gases indicate eruptions on the eastern flank of Kilauea volcano are likely to continue.

Two new fissures opened on Saturday, bringing the total number of lava outbreaks in and around Leilani Estates to 17.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the latest fissure, which opened Saturday night, was spattering but no flow had yet formed. Fissure No. 16 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.