HAWAII’s Kilauea volcano has spawned a new lava fissure less than a mile from a geothermal energy plant, forcing 50,000 gallons of pentane to be removed amid alarming concerns.
The US Geological Survey said 16 fissures have now opened up on the Big Island.
The latest fissure arose just before 7am (12pm GMT) about 1 mile northeast of the last fissure in the Leilani Estates area.
USGS scientist Janet Babb said the fissure is around a mile east of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant.
Because of the rising fear amongst residents, plant workers removed 50,000 gallons of pentane stored at the site.
"As it was described to me, it is so small it could hardly be called a fissure."
At least 26 homes have been destroyed and more than 1,700 people have had to seek refuge after volcano Kilauea erupted last week.
There have been more than 1,000 earthquakes in the area over the past seven days, with the largest, which had a 6.9 magnitude, on Friday 4.