Hawaii’s Big Island remains on high alert on Saturday after the Kilauea volcano spewed lava into residential areas, forcing hundreds to evacuate, and a series of earthquakes, including a powerful tremor, shook the island.
Scientists and local officials warned residents that seismic and volcanic activity may continue after a 6.9 tremor shook buildings on the island’s southeast corner a little after noon (2200 GMT) on Friday and more lava fissures were reported in a residential subdivision, where residents have been ordered to leave.
“Until we see earthquake activity dying down and the ground stops moving, it’s likely that this activity is going to continue,” said Tina Neal, a scientist in charge at the USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory after a community meeting attended by about 300 people on Friday.
Some attendees shed tears as they asked officials about looting, travel restrictions and safety precautions at the Puna Geothermal Venture, a power plant in the eruption area.
|An area near the Kilauea Volcano May 3, 2018. USGS/via REUTERS
“Today’s been a challenging day for everyone,” Neal said.
The meeting came hours after the 6.9 tremor caused buildings to shake at the Community Center in Pahoa town, one of two evacuation centers in the area hastily set up after lava started burbling up through fissures in the ground in neighborhoods nearby.
Friday also saw several more eruptive lava fissures, each several hundred yards long, in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the Puna District about a dozen miles (19 km) from the volcano.Reuters