Hawaii County expands evacuation after eruption

A small fissure opened to the west of the vent on Tuesday, May 1, but scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report that an intrusion of magma is heading eastward from the vent towards Highway 130.

"Due to this activity, Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory (HVO) indicates an eruption is possible".

The 10:30 a.m. temblor did not appear to cause any other changes at the volcano.

In the last 24 hours, there have been nearly 70 earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or greater.

As of 8 a.m. local time today (May 3), the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency reportedthat while low-magnitude earthquakes continue to shake the area, the situation is slightly less dire than it was yesterday, and that "an eruption is possible but not imminent".

The quake caused no other changes at Kilauea Volcano, scientists said.

"Should an eruption occur, residents along the East Rift Zone may have little warning", said Magno, "Residents in that area should be prepared to evacuate".

After hundreds of small earthquakes, scientists and residents are preparing for an eruption on Hawaii's Big Island.

In the decades since, the lava flow has buried dozens of square miles of land and destroyed many homes.

Residents have reported the recent appearance of several cracks on roads in and around Leilani Estates.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said Thursday red lava emerged on Mohala Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision.

As it moves beneath the surface, the molten lava is breaking up rock and causing the ground to shift.

The Leilani Estates area is part of the Big Island's Eastern Rift Zone, in which the Hawaii Volcano Observatory had "identified magma movement" and warned residents that seismic activities and eruptions could take place without notice.

But she said if an eruption happened, the start of it would be "pretty vigorous". No steam has been reported from the cracks.

Earlier in the week, the crater floor of the Puu Oo vent collapsed.

An additional outbreak of lava from the lower East Rift Zone remains a possible outcome of the continued unrest.

It moved so far, it's now underneath the Puna District, one of the fastest-growing residential areas on the Big Island.

  • Rogelio Becker