Hawaii volcano erupts, spewing lava and forcing evacuations

Kelley Robertson
May 5, 2018

Almost 1,500 residents were ordered to evacuate after Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano erupted, sending molten lava to chew its way through forest land and bubble up on paved streets. Fire officials said "the elderly, young and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area", the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

A 5.0 magnitude natural disaster on Thursday rocked several communities on the Big Island that are already bracing for a possible volcanic eruption after hundreds of small earthquakes jolted the region. "And so we are watching that very, very closely".

Jeremiah Osuna, a resident of nearby Nanawale Estates, said he flew his drone over a "curtain of fire" and it sounded like putting "a bunch of rocks into a dryer and (turning) it on as high as you could".

"It has now become unnerving", Carol Shepard, a Big Island resident told CNN.

The Civil Defense Agency urged those under mandatory evacuation orders to steer clear, as fire authorities were detecting "extremely high levels of risky sulfur dioxide gas" in the zone.

The US Geological Survey revised the magnitude of the most severe quake to a 5, from the 4.6 reported earlier.

The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rattled the area's Puna district.


On Friday morning, the Hawaii Country Civil Defence Agency said the volcanic activity still continued and another vent had opened up overnight.

"This stuff could go on for a couple days, weeks or months", Leilani Estates residents Maja Stenback told the Washington Post. David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, says he has activated military reservists from the National Guard to help evacuate thousands of people. "You know what's going on; we have warning systems".

The Kilauea volcano is the youngest and most active on the island of Hawaii, and has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Puu Oo vent crater floor collapsed Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing lava into new underground chambers.

Given the possibility of a new outbreak, Hawaii County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area. Located along the southern shore of the island, the volcano is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.

Law enforcement sources tell Hawaii News Now that lava is being spotted in the community, including seeping out of cracks in the road.

"Hawaiians and local people have lived here forever", she said.

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