A 6.9-magnitude earthquake, which is the strongest one to have hit the state of Hawaii in over 43 years, has forced authorities to call a mandatory evacuation. The latest earthquake, which was preceded by several volcanic eruptions, reportedly hit Hawaii's Big Island, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Residents have been told to immediately vacate their residences as further quakes and eruptions are expected to occur in the coming days. Thousands of people, including residents and tourists, have already been evacuated. The Hawaii National Guard has reportedly already been deployed on the island along with dozens of emergency personnel.

Danger zone

According to the US Geological Service and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, more tremors are expected to occur due to the activity within the Kilauea Volcano. The active volcano has been spewing super hot lava into residential areas for the past few days through small lava fissures emerging from the ground throughout the island. Six active eruptive lava fissures have already been spotted on the island. As reported by Yahoo! News, two houses have been burned down by lava coming from the volcano. Residents have been warned to stay away from the active fissures as they can unexpectedly throw out hot rocks and lava. The fissures also spew out extremely high levels of sulphuric gas, which could be deadly to those with breathing and lung problems.

Under observation

Scientists and volcanologists are currently trying to determine the movement of the magma under the volcano. Janet Babb, a spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, recently announced that the magma was moving eastward towards the island’s rural districts. The flow may eventually follow the path of older lava fields previously carved out by past eruptions.

The magma moving through the rift zones is currently causing a lot of stress on the ground beneath the volcano, which will eventually be released as tremors.

Past eruptions

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is currently the most active volcano of the five volcanoes that are found on the Hawaiian islands.

The volcano has been continually erupting since 1983 and has since caused millions of dollars in property damage. Fortunately, the volcano does not spew hot rocks and lava into the sky like other volcanoes. Instead, most eruptions result in lava oozing out of fissures, which does give residents enough time to get to safety. Slow moving magma flows are easily spotted from afar and residents usually have a few hours to escape it before it reaches their property. As for the latest eruption, no injuries or deaths have yet been reported.