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An ash plume rises from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 15. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement on Wednesday that the Kilauea Volcano is continuing to deflate, resulting in strong earthquakes and a drop in the lava column.

Why it matters: The sinking of the lava column means there's a higher likelihood of steam-driven explosions. The quakes felt on Wednesday, measuring up to 4.4 magnitude, have caused damage to roads and buildings, per the HVO. Axios' Andrew Freedman reported earlier on Wednesday that the eruption, which began at the beginning of the month, is in a "new, more dangerous phase and shows no signs of stopping."

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden signs executive orders and swears in day one presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony.

Mike Allen, author of AM
24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's inauguration signals a great American reset

President Biden prepares to walk the abbreviated parade route in front of the White House after the inauguration. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Biden had exited his Cadillac with the new "46" license plates and was strolling a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue toward his new home when he spotted "Today" show weather legend Al Roker.

The big picture: Biden dropped Jill Biden's hand — no warning — and trotted over to the delighted Roker. POTUS gave Roker a fist bump and said, "Gotta keep doing this!" It was a very Joe moment in a day that was designed to signal a return to normality in a turbulent America.

Chuck Schumer is now majority leader as 3 new Democratic senators are sworn in

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.