EXTRAORDINARY vision has emerged online of lava bursting out of the earth and spewing into residential streets on Hawaii’s Big Island as one of the world’s most active volcanoes begins to erupt.
It comes after hundreds of earthquakes rattled the eastern side the Big Island this week and opened up huge cracks in the ground from which lava from the Kilauea volcano is now shooting out of.
Drone footage uploaded to social media (watch it below) shows lava flowing down streets and creeping towards homes in the Leilani Estates, triggering the mandatory evacuation of around 1700 residents.
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“Department of Public Works reports steam and lava emissions from a crack in Leilani Subdivision in the area of Mohala Street,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency wrote in a Facebook post.
Incredible images are emerging online, showing molten rock engulfing trees and melting roads as it flows through forested areas and into residential zones.
Leilani Estates is a subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of the Kilauea volcano, roughly an hour away from Volcanoes National Park.
It’s understood the eruption began around 4.45pm local time, around six hours after a 5.0 magnitude quake struck south of the Puu Oo volcano cone, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
“A short-lived plume of ash produced by this event lofted skyward and is continuing to dissipate as it drifts southwest from Puu Oo,” the USGS said.
The agency warned “anyone downwind may experience a dusting of ash.”
A series of earthquakes earlier in the week caused the crater floor to collapse on the Puu Oo volcano cone, which is located in the Kilauea volcano’s eastern rift zone.