Puna warned series of quakes could indicate eruption is possible

COURTESY HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY           A view of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kilauea on Monday

Due to frequent low magnitude quake activity, officials are cautioning the public on the eastern side of Hawaii's Big Island to take safety preparations in case Kīlauea Volcano erupts.

At 10:30 a.m. today, ground shaking from a preliminary magnitude-5.0 natural disaster south of Puu Oo caused rockfalls and possibly additional collapse into the Puu Oo crater on Kīlauea Volcano's east rift zone.

On Monday afternoon, April 30, the crater within Pu'u 'Ō'ō collapsed, and a flurry of low magnitude earthquakes continues to shake the eastern side of the island, particularly communities in lower Puna, officials said.

Hawaiʻi County's Civil Defense is advising residents in Leilani Estates, Nanawale Estates, and near the coastal area of Kapoho to be prepared to evacuate because of a possible eruption. That quake came after after hundreds of small tremors rattled the island since last week.

Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes - a lot of them around 2.0 magnitude - have been recorded in the area.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is releasing red lava into a residential subdivision, prompting the county to order mandatory evacuations.

The quake happened around 10:30 a.m., and was centered in the south flank of Kilauea volcano at a depth of 6.9 kilometers, the USGS said.

In Leilani Estates, residents reported several large cracks on the road measuring 18 inches long and 2 inches wide, Hawaii News Now reported.

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"Today's activity further supports the continued instability in the East Rift Zone", said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Some ground cracks in the community of Leilani Estates were reported to the (HVO) on Wednesday.

The county is now calling for all residents in the Leilani (LAY-lah-nee) Estates subdivision to evacuate.

"It's a situation worth monitoring very closely", she said.

Other experts said the quakes were being caused by a river of magma flowing to the east.

Authorities said hazards linked to the ongoing eruptions could include "potentially lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide gas" in the zone as well as methane blasts that could propel large rocks and debris in adjacent forested areas.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has reported that there's a slight drop in intensity of magma intrusion in the area along the east rift zone.

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