Two more earthquakes have forced fresh bursts of lava and ash from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Thousands of people have been ordered to leave the area due to the ongoing seismic activity.
Hawaii's Big Island was on high alert Saturday after a series of earthquakes prompted a further eruption of the Kilauea volcano, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate.
A magnitude 6.9 remor was reported Friday at 12.32 p.m. local time (22.32 UTC), about an hour after one measuring 5.4 hit the island. The second tremor was centered near the southern flank of the volcano, authorities said.
The National Guard said there were no immediate reports of injuries from the latest seismic activity.
The fresh tremors follow a 5.0 magnitude quake on Thursday, along with dozens of aftershocks that rattled the island.
Kilauea springs to life
The eruption of Kilauea — one of five active volcanos on the island — first began late afternoon local time on Thursday, spewing molten lava and releasing noxious steam into nearby residential areas.
Some 1,700 residents at Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens had to be evacuated; other residents in the Puna district were also asked to leave their homes.
In total, around 10,000 people were affected and several homes were destroyed. Hawaii's Civil Defense Agency said two emergency shelters were open for evacuees.
Hawaii's governor, David Ige, activated the Hawaii National Guard to help the official response, writing on Twitter: "Please be alert and prepare now to keep your family safe."
Evacuation orders were issued to hundreds of local residents following the start-stop-start eruptions
'Curtain of fire'
A drone video captured by resident resident Jeremiah Osuna showed lava inching its way through Puna. Speaking on Honolulu television station KOHN, he called it a "curtain of fire."
"It sounded like if you were to put a bunch of rocks into a dryer and turn it on as high as you could," he said.
The combined tremors have prompted four active volcanic fissures to open up over the past day or so.
Big Island resident Janice Wei told the AFP news agency she felt "a big shake underneath my feet," and then said immediately afterwards, she saw a giant pink plume of smoke.
The eruption follows days of seismic activity in Puna. A nearby school was closed due to the ongoing tremors, including a 5.0 quake on Thursday morning. Several roads have cracked under the strain of the repeated tremors.
Kilauea Volcano has been erupting almost continuously for more than three decades and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
bik,mm/bw (Reuters, AP, AFP)