A 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the Big Island of Hawaii on Friday adding to the already high tensions of those forced to evacuate because of the volcanic eruption.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake hit roughly 10 miles southwest of Leilani Estates. It was centered near the south end of Kilauea volcano, which erupted Thursday and continued to spew lava into Friday.
M 6.9 – 16km SW of Leilani Estates, Hawaii, 2018-05-04 22:32:55 UTC, 5.0 km depth. https://t.co/g2hWHdnPex This is in almost exactly the same location at the deadly 1975 M 7.1 earthquake. pic.twitter.com/ImkbbL1ruq
— USGS_Seismic (@usgs_seismic) May 4, 2018
“This last one was scary,” state Sen. Russell Ruderman of Keauu told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “It starts rocking and keeps on going. It’s very frightening. We’re rattled.”
The seismic event is reportedly Hawaii’s biggest earthquake since the 1970s. It followed reports of a 5.4-magnitude earthquake that hit roughly 11 miles southwest of the same area, according to the USGS.
Maj. Jeff Hickman, spokesman for the Hawaii National Guard, told the Associated Press that neither the Hilo airport nor the highways were damanged amid the quake.
And the Hawaii Department of Transportation previously tweeted that there had been no reported damage to roadways.
“Crews are continuing to conduct inspections and are monitoring conditions,” the agency said.
— Hawaii DOT (@DOTHawaii) May 4, 2018
The earlier Kilauea volcano eruption caused officials to issue evacuation orders to more than 1,700 residents.
Aerial drone footage revealed a line of lava snaking its way through forest land and bubbling up on paved streets near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island. In other places, lava spurted into the sky from cracks in the road.
— Hawaii News Now (@HawaiiNewsNow) May 4, 2018
Fema Region 9 tweeted this warning information Friday evening.
— FEMA Region 9 (@femaregion9) May 5, 2018
Fire officials warned that they had detected extremely high levels of sulfur in the area and reiterated that people should leave until the threat had passed.
Asta Miklius, a geophysicist with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told the Associated Press that the volcano has “quite a bit of magma in the system.”
“It won’t be just an hours-long eruption probably, but how long it will last will depend on whether the summit magma reservoir gets involved,” Miklius said. “And so we are watching that very, very closely.”