DISASTERS

Earthquakes and shifting ground on Hawaii volcano could signal new eruption, scientist says

  • In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo, molten rock lights up the night as it spews into a lake of lava near the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. The lava lake had reached a record high level on May 8 and then began descending, making scientists wonder where the molten rock will go next. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)

    In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo, molten rock lights up the night as it spews into a lake of lava near the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. The lava lake had reached a record high level on May 8 and then began descending, making scientists wonder where the molten rock will go next. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo, molten rock spews into a lake of lava near the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. The lava lake had reached a record high level on May 8 and then began descending, making scientists wonder where the molten rock will go next. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)

    In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo, molten rock spews into a lake of lava near the summit of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. The lava lake had reached a record high level on May 8 and then began descending, making scientists wonder where the molten rock will go next. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)  (The Associated Press)

A series of earthquakes and shifting ground on the slopes of Kilauea have scientists wondering what will happen next at one of the world's most active volcanos.

A lake of lava near the summit of Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island had risen to a record-high level after a recent explosion.

But in the past few days, the pool of molten rock began sinking, and the surface of the lava lake fell nearly 500 feet. Meanwhile, a rash of earthquakes rattled the volcano with as many as 20 to 25 quakes per hour.

Volcano scientist Steve Brantley says the lava has been dropping out of sight, and it has to be going somewhere. He says one possibility is that a new lava eruption could break through the surface of the mountain.