Hawaii County expands evacuation after eruption

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"Hawai'i County Civil Defense is on high alert on a 24-hour basis for the possibility of a volcanic eruption in the lower Puna area", a county media release stated.

It was also reported lava spread out over an area about 200 yards behind a house in Leilani Estates on Thursday. Resident Ikaika Marzo said he could see "fountains" of lava in the community.

Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes - majority around 2 magnitude - were recorded in the area. "It was like that just about all night long", said Chris Burmeister, who lives in Leilani Estates.

The floor of the Pu'u 'Ō'ō's crater collapsed on Monday (April 30), and the deflation pushed magma underground southeast, toward the Puna district. "I was kind of shaken a little bit and realizing how real everything is, and how unsafe living on the East Rift can be". "And then every now and then, you'll get just a heavy jolt".

"Due to this activity, Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory (HVO) indicates an eruption is possible". The Pu'u 'Ō'ō crater is located on the eastern side of the volcano's rift zone, and has been erupting since 1983, Janet Babb, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Live Science's Laura Geggel earlier in the day.

Scientists said an outbreak of lava could occur, possibly reaching the surface in the area east of Puu Oo.

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The USGS says areas downslope of the erupting vent are at risk of being covered by lava.

Kauahikaua said coastal communities from Kalapana to Kapoho were evacuated and "sections of every public road to the coastline were buried by lava" before the eruption abruptly stopped in May 1955.

Highway 132 at Pohoiki Road, which was one of the evacuation routes, was closed, Hawaii News Now reported. The area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

In this photo provided by the US Geological Survey, red ash rises from the Puu Oo vent on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano after a magnitude-5.0 quake struck the Big Island, on Thursday, May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. "Most of the park, which is 333,308 acres in size, remains open", she said.

Following an quake of magnitude 5.0, and a number of minor tremors in eastern Hawaii on Thursday, which threatened the eruption of Kilauea - the region's most active volcano - officials ordered emergency evacuations.

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