"Fountains Of Lava" Spew From Hawaii Volcano; Evacuations Ordered

Friday, May 4th 2018, 2:36 am
By: News On 6

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is releasing red lava into a residential subdivision, prompting the county to order mandatory evacuations. A resident described "fountains of lava" in the community near the volcano, CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB reports. 

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said Thursday red lava emerged on Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision. The county is ordering evacuations for homes from Luana Street to Pohohiki Road. 

Residents and social media posts show lava spewing from cracks in roadways. Resident Ikaika Marzo said he could see "fountains" of lava in the community.   

The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rocked the Puna district of the Big Island. Overnight into Wednesday, quakes continued to shake Puna as seismic activity appeared to be moving eastward toward Kapoho, KGMB reports. 

From midnight to 10 a.m. Wednesday, there were more than 45 earthquakes at Kilauea, most of which measured about magnitude 2.0. Altogether in recent days, more than 250 small temblors have been recorded, including a magnitude 4.0 tremor just offshore of Puu Oo early Tuesday.

Earlier in the week, the crater floor of the Puu Oo vent collapsed. That caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island. 

On Wednesday, cracks were also reported on the road in Leilani Estates, but officials reported they did not pose a lava threat.

Still, the cracks added to residents' anxieties as the quakes didn't let up.

"Last night, we started having them ... about five a minute. It was like that just about all night long," said Chris Burmeister, who lives in Leilani Estates. "It'll rumble for a little bit. Rumble for a little bit. And then every now and then, you'll get just a heavy jolt."

Officials have said it's impossible to predict where an eruption might happen, but areas that could be affected include Nanawele Estates, Leilani Estates and the coastal area of Kapoho, KGMB reports.  

Most of Kilauea's activity has been nonexplosive, but a 1924 eruption spewed ash and 10-ton rocks into the sky, leaving one man dead.

Puu Oo's 1983 eruption resulted in lava fountains soaring over 1,500 feet high. In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many homes. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.