In the weeks ahead, the volcano could eject blocks up to two yards (meters) in diameter a little less than a mile (a kilometer) away, the USGS said. The summit crater has an active lava pond and leaks toxic gases.
The National Park Service announced the closure Wednesday, saying that a "steam-induced explosion" at the summit could be caused by the summit's lava lake draining.
While there are no residents within the target areas, workers at the Puna Geothermal Venture, across the highway from where the lava is flowing are removing tens of thousands of gallons of flammable gas from the plant to a secure area.
Scientists said the occurrence of an explosion or multiple explosions would be contingent on a rock fall within the volcano's inner tunnel or conduit - and there have been frequent rockfalls so far in this eruption - once the magma in that tunnel has dropped to meet the ground water, creating steam.
An ash plume rises from the Halemaumau crater within the Kilauea volcano summit caldera at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on May 9, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. While the gas that would be emitted in the explosions will mainly consist of steam, it would also contain the hazardous dioxide, the geologists warned.
Police say the suspect is linked to another burglary in Leilani Estates. It may also send pebbles shooting into the air several miles away.
All of this activity, according to geologists and vulcanologists, is driven by the underground ebb and flow of huge rivers of molten rock called magma - the term for lava before it reaches the surface - and is part of an eruption cycle that has continued almost nonstop on the island for 35 years.
He says the plant expects to finish removing the gas by the end of Thursday.
Hawaii volcano eruption WEBCAM
At least 15 volcanic fissures have opened up in and around the Leilani Estates, the newest crack opening this afternoon.
"Scientists at (the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory) have their work cut out for them right now, with the ongoing eruption at Leilani Estates still producing new fissures and now the potential that the summit might produce something more explosive", he wrote in his blog.
Volcanologist Erik Klemetti wrote Wednesday that Kilauea may be moving past its "usual playbook".
Following the eruption on May 1, 1,700 residents were asked to evacuate.
The vents emerged on Tuesday near the spots where lava has been pouring into streets and backyards for the past week.
Almost 2,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate the neighborhoods close to the vents, but some ignored the order and remained to watch over their property. The same day, authorities issued a cell-phone alert in Lanipuna Gardens, urging residents that are reluctant to part with their belongings and pets, to vacate the area. Police followed up with personal visits.
The new eruptions brought to 14 the number of vents that have opened since Kilauea started spraying fountains of lava as high as 90m into the air. Some 36 structures, majority homes, have been burned down.
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