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Dozens of earthquakes were rattling Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano on Wednesday as underground magma moved into a new area east of the Puu Oo (POO'-oo OH'-oh) vent.
Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the increased activity is associated with the collapse of the crater floor at Puu Oo, which is an open vent below Kilauea's summit crater and lava lake.
Quakes - Area - Wednesday - Morning
There were about 50 small quakes detected in the area on Wednesday morning alone.
Scientists say the activity could trigger a new eruption and people are being told to stay away. USGS is sending two ground crews into the area Wednesday to install new monitoring equipment.
Hawaii - Department - Education - School - Volcano
The Hawaii Department of Education said a school near the volcano has been closed due to the ongoing seismic activity.
The Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers.
Lava - Slope - Volcano - Big - Island
Lava has moved down the east slope of the volcano and into the Big Island's Puna District. USGS geologist Janet Babb said the magma may have already gone under Highway 130, which leads to a popular volcano access point.
"Overnight it continued to push farther to the east, and so it's still very much an ongoing situation," Babb said. "Highway 130 crosses right over the East Rift Zone, so our best estimate is that it has extended beyond the area of Highway 130."
USGS - Crews - Changes - Ground - Roads
USGS crews have not seen any changes to the ground or roads in the area where the lava is flowing below the surface. 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. "Very, very little lava was issued from that crack."
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