Seismic activity dies down on Hawaii's Big Island

Seismic activity on Hawaii's Big Island has settled down, but experts say a volcanic eruption is still possible and residents should prepare for the worst and be ready to evacuate at any moment.

Hundreds of earthquakes have rattled the island since Kilauea's crater collapsed on Sunday, and magma moved underground to an area east of the Pu'u O'o vent - causing unsettling cracks on the roads in nearby communities.  

In the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's latest update, published Thursday morning at 8:48am local time, scientists said that the seismic activity died down overnight, and the magma's movement east 'appears to have slowed or ceased'.

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Smoke rises from the Kilauea volcano on Thursday. Seismic activity has died down but experts say an explosion is still possible 

Magma has been moving eastwards in recent days, after a crater at the volcano collapsed 

Magma has been moving eastwards in recent days, after a crater at the volcano collapsed 

Residents on the Big Island have been preparing for an eruption. Above, the volcano on Wednesday 

Residents on the Big Island have been preparing for an eruption. Above, the volcano on Wednesday 

Volcanic activity died down on the island overnight, but experts say an eruption is still possible. Above, lava is glimpsed through a crack in the surface during a helicopter tour on Wednesday 

Volcanic activity died down on the island overnight, but experts say an eruption is still possible. Above, lava is glimpsed through a crack in the surface during a helicopter tour on Wednesday 

Cracks in the road that had been observed in Leilani Estates were confirmed to be caused by the traveling subterranean magma, but no rising temperatures, steam or gas were observed at any of the crack sites. 

Another crack at Pohoiki Road stopped opening Wednesday night around 10pm.

While the activity appears to have slowed down, experts say an eruption is still possible and residents should remain vigilant. 

Emergency officials are preparing in case an evacuation is necessary. Above, the Pu'u O'o crater on Wednesday

Emergency officials are preparing in case an evacuation is necessary. Above, the Pu'u O'o crater on Wednesday

The crater collapsed on Sunday, and since then the island has been rocked by hundreds of earthquakes. Above, the crater on Wednesday

The crater collapsed on Sunday, and since then the island has been rocked by hundreds of earthquakes. Above, the crater on Wednesday

This April 23, 2018 photo shows the extent of the large overflow of a lava lake in the Kilauea Volcano

This April 23, 2018 photo shows the extent of the large overflow of a lava lake in the Kilauea Volcano

Active lava flow is glimpsed beneath the surface in this April 30 photo from Kilauea 

Active lava flow is glimpsed beneath the surface in this April 30 photo from Kilauea 

'Although the intensity of seismicity has reduced somewhat, earthquake rates remain elevated and deformation of the ground continues. Activity could intensify at any time and an outbreak of lava in a new location along the East Rift Zone remains possible,' the statement reads.  

While it's impossible to know what areas will be impacted if an eruption happens, right now the communities of Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates or Kapoho appear to be most at risk. 

Those who live in these communities have been warned to remain alert, review emergency plans and closely follow the status of the volcano. 

All public access from the island's Puna District, has been shut down and visitors have been warned to stay away in case of an eruption

All public access from the island's Puna District, has been shut down and visitors have been warned to stay away in case of an eruption

Puu Oo's 1983 (pictured) eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high (460 metres). In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles (kilometres) of land and destroyed many homes (file photo)

Puu Oo's 1983 (pictured) eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high (460 metres). In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles (kilometres) of land and destroyed many homes (file photo)

HOW CAN RESEARCHERS PREDICT VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS?

According to Eric Dunham, an associate professor of Stanford University's School of Earth, energy and Environmental Sciences, 'Volcanoes are complicated and there is currently no universally applicable means of predicting eruption. In all likelihood, there never will be.'

However, there are indicators of increased volcanic activity, which researchers can use to help predict volcanic eruptions. 

Researchers can track indicators such as: 

Volcanic infrasound: When the lava lake rises up in the crater of an open vent volcano, a sign of a potential eruption, the pitch or frequency of the sounds generated by the magma tends to increase. Seismic activity: Ahead of an

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