HILO, Hawaii (AP) — The Big Island's Kilauea Volcano is putting on quite a show.
The volcano, which is one of the world's most active, is actually erupting from two craters. The volcano's Pu'u O'o Crater has been erupting since 1983, but it is the Halema'uma'u Crater that is getting attention now.
Lava could spill out onto the Halema'uma'u Crater floor any day now, Hawaii News Now (http://is.gd/gHl1U2 ) reported Thursday. Lava was continuing to rise and at last look on Wednesday was only about 100 feet from spilling over, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The rising level of lava in the crater means that Kilauea's entire system is pressurizing, said USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick. If the lava continues to rise and gets to 60 feet, it will be visible from the observation deck at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The summit lava lake is deep inside a 520-foot diameter cylindrical vent with nearly vertical sides inside the crater floor. The vent has been mostly active since an explosion on March 19, 2008.
"In modern history the fact that we may be able to see lava if it breeches the surface here will be an exciting time," said Jessica Ferracane, with Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Public Affairs.
Lava has spilled onto the crater floor in 1974 and 1982 but those eruptions were caused by activity along the sides of the crater. This time the lava is rising from the crater floor.
The 100-foot mark is the highest level measured thus far during the current eruption. Cracking noises from the volcano are sometimes audible from the volcano overlook. They are being caused by rocks from the vent wall fracturing from the heat.
Patrick said the lava shows no sign of stopping but it could end at any point.
Kilauea is the youngest volcano on the Big Island. Since 1952 there have been 34 eruptions. It has continuously erupted since January 1983 along the east rift zone, according to the USGS Web site. Kilauea ranks among the world's most active volcanoes and may even be the most active, USGS says.
Information from: KHNL-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/