Kilauea Volcano Erupts on Big Island of Hawaii, Causing Mandatory Evacuations

Hawaii's most active volcano unleashes a chilling scene.

Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted on Thursday, causing a fissure to open in the earth with lava flowing out into residential areas near the volcano. This spurred mandatory evacuations of upwards of 1,500 people in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to The New York Times, “The area has experienced hundreds of small earthquakes in recent days. The largest, a magnitude 5.0, hit about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. It was centered on the southeastern coast of the island of Hawaii, with a depth of four miles.”

Kilauea is Hawaii’s most active volcano, and geologists had predicted that the tremors in the previous days were going to eventually lead to lava erupting through the surface. Photos and videos show chilling scenes of lava flowing down streets and a crack opening up in the earth.

Miraculously, no deaths or injuries have been reported, and the Hawaii Observatory Status Report has stated that the fissure had ceased spewing lava. But that does not mean things are in the clear, and extremely high levels of noxious sulfur dioxide are still present in the evacuation area.

For reference, the 1955 eruption of Kilauea lasted for 88 days. “A lava breakout remains a possibility -- and it could happen quickly,” Janet Babb, an Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist, told NPR.

Stay tuned to ASN for more updates on this story.

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