Science Says: Hawaii volcano has oozed hot lava for decades

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.