News World Lava continues to erupt from the Kilauea volcano amid earthquakes in Hawaii
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Lava continues to erupt from the Kilauea volcano amid earthquakes in Hawaii

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The Kilauea volcano has erupted on the Big Island, amid earthquakes forcing residents to evacuate. Photo: Getty
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The Kilauea volcano continues to erupt fountains of lava while multiple earthquakes – including the biggest in more than 40 years – rock Hawaii’s Big Island, forcing evacuations and school closures.

Up to 2000 people have been ordered to evacuate, and Hawaii Governor David Ige has activated the Hawaii National Guard to provide emergency help.

The volcano, one of five on the island, began erupting on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the past week, the US Geological Survey reported.

More than six lava fissures have erupted so far in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, home to about 1700 people.

On Friday residents were ordered to evacuate after public works officials reported steam and lava bubbling up from cracks in the road, the island state’s Civil Defence said.

Meanwhile, constant earthquakes continue to shake the Big Island, as locals call it, on Saturday (AEST).

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake centred on the volcano’s south flank was felt as far away as the town of Hilo and the neighbouring island of Oahu, home to the capital city of Honolulu.

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A map of Hawaii showing the location of a 5.4-magnitude earthquake. Photo: AAP

Video footage shows food shaking off the shelves of supermarkets in Keaau, with Hawaiian news agencies reporting the closure of six schools on Friday, including the University of Hawaii in Hilo.

The 6.9-magnitude quake is the largest quake in Hawaii since 1975, according to officials, and followed a 5.4 magnitude earthquake about 18 kilometres south-west of the Leilani Estates, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quakes have also raised fears of tsunamis, although none so far have been spawned by the earth-convulsing eruptions.

Aerial footage on the Hawaii News Now website taken on Saturday morning shows the Pu’u’o’o crater is nearly emptied of lava as the eruptions continue as a 6.0-magnitude earthquake was reported near Hawaii Island.

Leilani Estates resident Dale Miller, 58, said the lava tubes – natural tunnels underground that drain lava during an eruption – created a landmass similar to the texture of “Swiss cheese”.

Another resident, who asked to be known only as Lee, described the lava as “like a big snake was moving under the house”.

The gas emanating from the volcano can cause skin irritations and breathing difficulties.

Keala Noel, 64, also from Leilani Estates, said she didn’t feel the lava was directly threatening them, but took refuge at a shelter because of the sulphur.

“We stayed because we didn’t feel any imminent danger. But I could hardly breathe yesterday.”

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.

“Please be alert and prepare now to keep your family safe,” Mr Ige said on Twitter to residents living near the volcano.

Lava, which can reach temperatures of about 1150 degrees Celsius, spread less than about 10 metres from the fissure.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 125 square kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey.

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