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Kilauea tops list of U.S. volcanoes with "very high threat"

WASHINGTON — Government scientists are classifying 18 U.S. volcanoes as a "very high threat" because of what's been happening inside them and how close they are to people.

The U.S. Geological Survey is updating its volcano threat assessments for the first time since 2005. The danger list is topped by Hawaii's Kilauea, which has been erupting this year. It started in May, forcing evacuations and destroying homes. Lava flow from the volcano has even transformed Hawaii's coastline. According to CBS affiliate KGMB, the eruptions have stopped, but geologists warn it could start again at any time.

The other volcanoes in the top five are Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska's Redoubt Volcano, and California's Mount Shasta. The agency says a dozen volcanoes have jumped in threat level since 2005. Twenty others dropped in threat level.

Among those where the threat score moved higher are Alaska's Redoubt, Mount Okmok, Akutan Island and Mount Spurr. Threat scores also rose for Oregon's Newberry Volcano and Wyoming's Yellowstone. There are 161 active U.S. volcanoes.

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