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Lava from volcano eruption in Hawaii destroys two homes

05 May 2018

Hawaii officials who ordered the evacuation of hundreds in the path of the erupting Kilauea volcano warned Friday that seniors, young people and those with respiratory problems should leave nearby areas immediately because of extremely high levels of sulfur dioxide gas.

The recent eruption comes after days of earthquakes in the island. White clouds of steam and volcanic gases rose high in the sky above the southeastern part of Hawaii Island. Lava was confirmed at the edge of the Leilani Estates subdivision at around 5 p.m. Thursday, CNN reported.

A 5.0-magnitude quake on Thursday morning south of the cone triggered rockfalls and potential additional collapse of the crater, USGS said.

On some streets the bright red-orange lava could be seen spurting out of cracks in the ground. Hot vapor emerged from a crack and spattering lava began to erupt.

"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 told Honolulu television station KOHN. "You could hear the power it of it pushing out of the ground".

Authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation of Lanipuna Gardens and the Leilani Estates neighborhood, home to about 1,700 people and 770 structures. The subdivisions are located in the district of Puna, about 25 miles from Kilauea itself.

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Local resident Jeremiah Osuna captured drone footage of the lava burning through the trees in a scene he described as a "curtain of fire".

Two emergency shelters were opened to take in evacuees, the Civil Defense Agency said, while Governor David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide emergency help.

"It's a situation worth monitoring very closely", she said. "Civil Defense has been saying they can't predict it, but there's a good possibility, so they made everybody very aware that this could happen".

The reports come in the wake of a 5.0-magnitude natural disaster that shook the Big Island Thursday morning, and after hundreds of small tremors rattled residents for days.

"Earthquakes were happening every 10 minutes it seems like, that was kind of unsettling", Osuna told The Washington Post, adding that it was "nerve-racking" not knowing exactly where the eruption would occur.

Local officials closed volcano viewing areas while a portion of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was also closed.

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"There is quite a bit of magma in the system".

It sent a short-lived but massive pink plume of ash wafting into the air.

"Hawaiians and local people have lived here forever", she said. "Magma has made its way to the surface and eruption has commenced".

Big Island resident Janice Wei, who moved to Hawaii from California - known for its high natural disaster risk - said the eruption was nearly a "relief".

When Stenback got a call from her son that the volcano had started erupting, it felt "unreal", she said.

She filmed it as the lava splattered across a street before she packed up her auto and left with her daughter and grandchildren. "They know the risk", said Ryan Finlay, who lives in Pahoa and runs an online trade school.

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Lava from volcano eruption in Hawaii destroys two homes