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A plume rising from a crater caused by Kilauea. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to erupt, prompting mass evacuations in the southeastern part of the Big Island.

Threat level: The situation is highly dynamic, as lava continues to flow to the surface and the lava lake in the center of the crater sinks, which could lead to bigger problems. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the mountain could have an "explosive" eruption as a result of the current draining of the lava lake in the crater.

How it works: If the magma reaches the water table and is then covered by falling rocks, it could lead to an explosive steam explosion. This could hurl huge boulders into the air, and vault ash high into the atmosphere. (It would not be as destructive or violent an eruption as a volcano like Mount St. Helens, however.)

The numbers on Kilauea:

  • 35 years of eruptions: Kilauea has been erupting since 1983, though the recent uptick in activity began on May 3.
  • This one had a 6.9 magnitude earthquake: The current eruption was accompanied by an earthquake on May 4. This was the strongest quake to strike Hawaii since 1975.
  • About 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate over the last week since lava began flowing out of new fissures in the ground.
  • The eruption caused 24 hours of sustained earthquakes throughout the island, as magma flowed toward the surface.
  • Lava has destroyed 36 structures including 26 homes in the area since May 3.
  • 15 volcanic vents: The Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods are under threat from lava oozing to the surface from more than a dozen ruptures in the ground. There are 770 homes in Leilani Estates, per AP.
  • Unknown date and time: The USGS says that an explosive steam eruption could happen with little to no warning, and would expand the danger zone beyond just the lava fissures.

Go deeper: How the volcanic eruption in Hawaii could get worse

Go deeper

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The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

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Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.