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Scientist: Hawaii lava is magma stored from 1955

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VOLCANO, Hawaii (AP) - The Latest on a Hawaii volcano eruption:
    
Scientists believe lava that's been erupting in a Hawaii residential neighborhood since last week is magma that's been stored in the ground since Kilauea volcano erupted in the same region 63 years ago.
    
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist Tina Neal said Friday that an analysis of rock samples indicates the lava's chemistry is similar to that from a 1955 eruption.
    
She says that's why the lava has been cool and has been moving a little sluggishly.
    
Neal says fresher, hotter lava could emerge because magma has been moving down Kilauea's rift zone toward the area where the volcano is erupting.
    
She says hotter, fresher and gassier magma can result in more voluminous lava flows. Fresher magma may also produce lava fountains that shoot higher into the air and larger, faster-moving lava flows.

Previously Reported:
    
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 island is free of volcanic hazards, and local tourism officials hope travelers will recognize it's ready to welcome them.
    
Rachel Smigelski-Theiss is among those who have shifted gears.
    
She had intended to visit Kilauea's summit with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. Now they've cancelled their trip. Smigelski-Theiss says she's worried potential flight disruptions would strand them on the island.
    
Hawaii officials have had a busy month pleading with travelers to keep their plans even as they're bombarded with images of natural disasters. Last month it was floods on Kauai. Now it is lava from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island.
    
Hawaii's governor is asking President Donald Trump to declare the state a disaster because of earthquakes and a volcanic eruption on the Big Island.
    
Gov. David Ige said Thursday the disaster is so severe that direct federal help is needed.
    
State officials estimate it will cost more than $2.9 million to protect residents over the next 30 days. The costs will skyrocket if there needs to be large-scale air and sea evacuations.
    
Two subdivisions were ordered to evacuate last week after lava oozed from cracks in the ground, burning down some two dozen homes.
    
Ige says there's potential for a larger-scale evacuation as more fissures open. He says mass evacuation would be beyond county and state capabilities.
    
Officials say they aren't expecting a possible explosive volcano eruption to be life-threatening as long as people stay out of a surrounding Hawaii national park that's preparing to close.
    
Scientists worry Kilauea volcano could soon send boulders and ash shooting out of its summit crater.
    
No one lives in the immediate area of the summit. It's within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which plans to close Thursday night.
    
Hawaii Volcano Observatory scientist Tina Neal says communities a mile or two away may be showered by pea-sized fragments or dusted with nontoxic ash.
    
Active eruption of lava from fissures some 25 miles (40.2 kilometers) east of the summit has paused. However, earthquakes continue and additional fissure outbreaks are expected.
    
Authorities ordered two subdivisions in the area to evacuate last week.
    
Workers have removed flammable pentane from a nearby geothermal plant.
    
Flammable pentane has been moved out of a Hawaii geothermal plant that's near communities where lava has oozed from cracks in the ground.
    
Plant manager Mike Kaleikini said Thursday that all the fuel was moved off-site to a secure location.
    
Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe says the pentane was moved to an industrial park some 30 miles (48 kilometers) away from the Puna Geothermal Venture.
    
The pant sits on the edge of Leilani Estates, one of the areas where nearly 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate as Kilauea spewed lava. And with new fissures opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more worried.
    
Scientists say active eruption of lava within the Leilani Estates remains paused. However, earthquake activity and ground deformation continue and additional outbreaks in the general area are expected.
    
Authorities have accelerated the timeline for moving flammable pentane from a Hawaii geothermal plant that's near communities where lava has oozed from cracks in the ground.
    
Workers are moving the fuel to an industrial park about 30 miles (48.2 kilometers) away. All 50,000 gallons (189,270 liters) of pentane was expected to be removed by the end of Thursday.
    
Pentane is a flammable liquid similar to lighter fluid, or butane.
    
Officials said earlier this week they had planned to move the pentane over the next few weeks but accelerated the effort because of the ongoing lava threat.
    
The Puna Geothermal Venture is owned by Nevada company Ormat Technologies.
    
It sits on the edge of Leilani Estates, one of the areas where nearly 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate as Kilauea continues to spew lava. And with new fissures are opening closer to the edge of the plant, residents are getting even more worried.
    
Workers are moving flammable fuel from a geothermal plant that's near a Hawaii community where lava has oozed out of cracks in the ground.
    
Hawaii County officials say pentane is being moved from Puna Geothermal Venture to an offsite industrial park away from the neighborhoods where lava fissures have emerged.
    
Scientists say activity from the most recent lava fissure that opened up has paused but dangerous fumes continue to be released.
    
County officials say as of Thursday 15 fissures have emerged. Some two dozen homes have burned.
    
There is also concern that Kilauea volcano could soon send boulders and ash shooting out of its summit crater.
    
Scientists say the explosive eruption could occur even as the volcano continues to splatter and ooze lava out of its eastern flank into a residential area.
    
Two subdivisions were evacuated last week after lava oozed out of the fissures.
    
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could soon send boulders and ash shooting out of its summit crater. That kind of explosive eruption was last displayed by the volcano nearly a century ago.
    
This eruption could occur even the volcano continues to splatter and ooze lava out of its eastern flank into a residential area.
    
Scientists said Wednesday the risks of an explosive summit eruption will rise in coming weeks as magma drains down the flank of the volcano.
    
Hawaii Gov. David Ige says a geothermal energy plant near the lava outbreak would remove its storage of a flammable gas called pentane by the end of the day Thursday.
    
He says it would be "very hazardous" if a volcanic vent were to open under the facility where the fuel is stored.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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