Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts, prompting mandatory evacuations

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The quakes have prompted the Kilauea volcano, one of five active on the island, to erupt.

Weeks says many other evacuees were believed to have headed to the homes of relatives and friends.

Authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation of Lanipuna Gardens and the Leilani Estates neighborhood, home to about 1,700 people and 770 structures.

Magno also said a fifth "vent" had opened up following the natural disaster, spewing lava onto another local road.

"We knew we were building on an active volcano", she said, but added that she thought the danger from lava was a remote possibility.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory said white vapor and blue fumes began emanating from the cracked areas Thursday afternoon, followed by spatter - blobs of lava blown into the air - just before 5 p.m.

The HTA notes that the closest resort areas, in Kona and the Kohala Coast on the island of Hawaiʻi's west side, are more than 100 miles away from where the lava flow is occurring and "shielded by the massive mountains of Maunakea and Maunaloa".

"When we got to the top of Highway 130, they said we had to go to the bottom of Leilani", Larson said. She said they are set to fly back home to IL on Monday night.

Stephen Clapper said there was no choice. "You know, pack a bag and be ready to leave".

We were evacuated a couple of hours ago and we are now with friends.

More recently in 2014, lava again threatened the Puna district, specifically the town of Pahoa and its surrounding area, The Post reported.

Hawaii volcano eruption
EPA Hawaii volcano eruption Hundreds of earthquakes have been detected in recent days

But with lava setting trees ablaze and threatening homes, and with gas coming out of cracks in the ground, Clapper went back to the house, got his mother and the dogs, swept up some of his clothes in one arm, and took off for a shelter.

Rhea Lee-Moku, a spokeswoman for the company, said: "It's kind of like being on some kind of carnival ride if you will".

"Eruption was possible, and that's now what has happened", she said.

The first eruption began around 4:45 pm local time Thursday (0245 GMT Friday) and stopped at around 6:30 pm local time, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). Most notably, two quakes registering at 5.0 magnitude or higher on Friday.

Destructive molten flows weren't the only concern.

A new fissure opened up just before the latest tremor on Friday in one of those neighbourhoods, Leilani Estates, about a dozen miles (19 km) from the volcano, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a text message, making a total of four found so far. Volcanic eruptions can release potentially unsafe sulfur dioxide.

"It's sort of like you've injected ammonia into all your, your nose, into your breathing area, into your throat", Davis said.

US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was mobilizing resources, as well as monitoring for forest fires, power outages and water supply issues.

Gov. David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to assist with evacuations and security.

Since 1983, Kilauea has erupted nearly continuously, many times forcing nearby communities to evacuate.

It's located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has since closed off almost 15,700 acres due to "the possibility of a new eruption and unstable geologic activity".

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