Residents in Hawaii remain on high alert over fears the Kilauea volcano could erupt violently.
A huge explosion could rocket car-sized boulders into the air and shoot an ash cloud 20,000 feet into the sky, geologists have warned.
The eruption of the Hawaii volcano has already seen lava spew from cracks in roads and across the land destroying 37 homes and damaging many more.
Marci Gonzalez, an ABC News reporter, claimed geologists had predicted a “massive steam explosion”.
She said: “We are still seeing those huge plumes of ash billowing into the air, as high as 12,000 feet.
“Geologists expect that this will be the start of what is a continuous phase of ash eruptions like this.
“They believe it could be a lead up to a massive steam explosion that they have been predicting for about a week.
“They have said there is the possibility that from the summit of the Kilauea volcano we could see rocks and giant boulders, potentially the size of cars rocketing out of this creator.
“They would likely only fall within the volcanos national parks, that’s where the summit of the volcano is.
“It is usually a big tourist attraction, but because of the danger, they have shut down the national park.”
The reporter warned a giant ash cloud would rocket into the skyline which could be carried over committees in Hawaii.
She told Sky News: “The other concern from this steam explosion they’re expecting could happen, is even bigger ash plumes, we’re seeing 12,000 feet up, they’re saying the ash plumes could go to 20,000 feet into the air.
“The concern is, depending on wind direction, the ash could be carried over communities.”
Hawaii Fire Department declared air quality was still condition red – meaning immediate danger to health – and urged nearby residents to take action to limit further exposure.
A fire department spokesman said: “Severe conditions may exist such as choking and inability to breathe.
“Sulphur dioxide gas from fissures is especially dangerous for elderly, children and babies and people with respiratory problems.
“The residents of Puna are going through a very difficult time. County, State and Federal partners continue to monitor the situation.”
Residents have also been warned by the volcanic observatory to try to avoid contact with the volcanic ash which could also cause breathing difficulties.
A spokesman said: “The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports a steady eruption of ash coming from Halemaumau Crater is causing ash to fall downwind across portions of Kau District.
“Avoid excessive exposure to ash which is an eye and respiratory irritant. Those with breathing issues should take extra precaution to minimise exposure. Motorists are advised to drive with caution.”
Ash is not poisonous but irritates the nose, eyes and airways. It can make roads slippery and large emissions could cause the failure of electrical power lines, said USGS chemist David Damby.
Around 1,700 people have already been ordered to leave their homes after lava spewed into neighbourhoods.