Hawaii Kilauea Volcano: Fissure 17 Is Dangerously Close to Geothermal Plant

Scientists aren't sure when it will stop.

Since the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3, fissures began appearing near the volcano emitting steam and lava. A new fissure opened on Sunday and it’s the most dangerous one yet.

The County of Hawaii Department of Public Works and Police reported the new fissure Sunday morning. Originally named fissure 18 but then renamed to fissure 17 by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the new vent is located a mile east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant on the southeastern part of Hawaii’s Big Island as reported by CNN. Workers at the plant removed 60,000 gallons of flammable liquids last week due to safety concerns. The newest fissure is several hundred yards long and splattering lava. Residents have been evacuated from the homes nearest to the fissure.

The first fissure from the Kilauea volcano appeared on May 3 causing nearby residents to evacuate. The next day a 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the area. So far nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated from the area with homes, cars and other property already destroyed by lava.

Since Kilauea is a shield volcano — meaning it has a high supply of magma — scientists are unsure of how long it will take before lava stops flowing and fissures stop forming. One volcanologist said it could take days, weeks, or even years before it stops. The last time lava flowed from the volcano was back in 2014 near the town of Pahoa.

Areas around Puna, Hawaii, near where the fissure is located, have been closed off to visitors. The County of Hawaii Department of Public Works and Police advised to not to go off-roading or sightsee while leaving resident of Puna alone so they can deal with the situation as needed.

Kilauea is not the only active volcano in Hawaii. There are two more volcanoes including the largest active volcano on the planet and a submarine volcano located 18 miles from the island shore.

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