Science Says: Hawaii volcano has oozed hot lava for decades

In this Sunday, May 6, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a lava flow moves across Makamae Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii. Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than two dozen homes since it began spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air last week, and residents who evacuated don't know how long they might be displaced. The decimated homes were in the Leilani Estates subdivision, where molten rock, toxic gas and steam have been bursting through openings in the ground created by the volcano. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)
In this Sunday, May 6, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) geologist collects samples of spatter for laboratory analysis in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii. Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than two dozen homes since it began spewing lava hundreds of feet into the air last week, and residents who evacuated don't know how long they might be displaced. The decimated homes were in the Leilani Estates subdivision, where molten rock, toxic gas and steam have been bursting through openings in the ground created by the volcano. (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

WASHINGTON — Scientists are seeing a slight decrease in pressure in the volcano that's erupting in Hawaii, but it's likely a temporary lull.

U.S. Geological Survey volcano expert Charles Mandeville said Monday that scientists won't know for certain if things have calmed down enough for at least two months. He said it could be much longer before conditions are safe for people to be in the area east of the volcano's summit.

Kilauea (kill-ah-WAY'-ah) has been erupting continuously since 1983. Instead of blow-the-top-off type explosions, the volcano spews scorching-hot lava from cracks in the ground. The difference this time is that the lava flow is threatening homes miles from the summit.

Dennison University's Erik Klemetti said the volcano's eruptions can simmer for years, seeming to die down then reviving.

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