volcano, fire, ash, eruption
Shawn Appel

Not but a few hours after the most active volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii erupted, streams of lava gushed out of the ground last Friday on the eastern side of the island. Some residents were forced to flee from threats of fires and extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas.

Active Volcano

Kilauea erupted last Thursday sending white billowing clouds of steam and volcanic ash into the sky. This prompted emergency officials to order mandatory evacuations. Authorities continued to warn residents to stay out of the area as molten rock shot high into the air from cracks in the ground in Leilani Estates, a subdivision in the Puna district.

Lava Fountains

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said was springing up from ground fractures 80 to 100 feet into the sky. The U.S. Geological Survey said it counted at least five fissure vents in the area so far. It announced that more outbreaks are likely to occur along the rift zone.

The island was hit by two large earthquakes on Friday. A 5.6 magnitude quake hit south of the volcano around 11:30 a.m. local time, followed about an hour later by a 6.0 magnitude one, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, which also reported that the threat of a tsunami was low.

Grinding Rocks

As Kilauea roared to life, the sound of grinding rocks filled the air, and red-orange lava could be seen spurting from the ground in several videos posted to YouTube. “It sounded like there were rocks in a dryer that were being tumbled around,” said Jeremiah Osuna, who lives near Leilani Estates, reported to Hawaii News Now. “You could hear the power of it pushing out of the ground.”

Emergency officials reported dangerously high levels of sulfur dioxide in the evacuation area and warned: “Elderly, young and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area.”

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