The US Geological Survey is reporting that a 6.9 earthquake has hit Hawaii, just a day after a volcanic eruption on the big island.
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
Hawaii News Now reports this was the second major earthquake today and was followed by a fifth volcanic eruption:
Just an hour after a large tremor Friday morning, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook the Big Island on Friday afternoon, sending people fleeing from buildings and community centers and increasing concerns about new eruptions in Puna’s Leilani Estates…
After the quake, about 14,000 customers lost power in Kaumana, Hilo and Puna. As of about 2 p.m., about half of those customers had been restored.
The temblor came about an hour after a 5.4 magnitude shook the Big Island on Friday morning, which was followed by a fifth eruption spewing lava into Leilani Estates…
The five eruptions, the latest of which started just five minutes after the large quake, are threatening several homes — and authorities have confirmed that at least two homes have sustained significant damage…
“My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced,” another resident said. “When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.”
Some residents seemed in disbelief at what they were seeing in their own backyards. In social media posts, they documented lava sputtering up from cracks in the roadway and then angrily boiling up higher and higher.
This video shot in Hilo gives a sense of the severity of the quake. (Note: Some NSFW language by the person filming.)
And here’s a clip showing the mounds of lava that are popping up in one residential neighborhood:
A relative filmed this at the end of his street near Leilani Estates on #Hawaii’s Big Island. Eruptions coming up in cracks left from the earthquake with uncertainty of the lava’s trajectory.
This was BEFORE the 6.9 struck. pic.twitter.com/gSfuuORIiB
— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) May 4, 2018
Witnesses said you could hear the sound of the rocks coming out of the ground. But it’s not just rocks and lava coming out of those vents, it’s also dangerous levels of gas. From the Washington Post:
“It sounded like there were rocks in a dryer that were being tumbled around,” said Jeremiah Osuna, who lives near Leilani Estates. “You could hear the power of it pushing out of the ground.”
Emergency officials reported dangerously high levels of sulfur dioxide in the evacuation area and warned: “Elderly, young and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area.” Residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens were ordered to evacuate to two nearby community centers serving as shelters, and the state’s Department of Education announced that several schools would be closed due to “volcanic activity.”
This CBC News video collects several additional clips of the eruptions including some drone footage of the lava extending through a neighborhood:
If the earthquake remains a 6.9, it will be the strongest one to hit Hawaii since 1975.