Fresh quakes hit Hawaii after Kilauea volcano erupts, hundreds flee

PAHOA, Hawaii (Reuters) - A series of fresh earthquakes on Friday, including a couple capable of causing considerable damage, hit Hawaii's Big Island, where the Kilauea volcano has been spewing fountains of lava into residential areas and forcing hundreds to evacuate.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the latest tremor at 12:32 p.m. (2332 GMT) measured a magnitude of 5.8.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said the quake, which was on land close to the volcano, was not large enough to cause a tsunami.

Its epicenter was located 12 miles southwest of Leilani Estates, one of the communities where lava has been burbling up from the ground from newly opened fissures or vents.

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Kilauea volcano erupts, sparking evacuations in Hawaii
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Kilauea volcano erupts, sparking evacuations in Hawaii
HAWAII, USA - MAY 17: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'USGS / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ash plume rises following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, United States on May 17, 2018. Lava is spewing more than 60 metres into the air and spread around 36,000 square metres. (Photo by USGS / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HAWAII, USA - MAY 17: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'USGS / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ash plume rises from forest following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, United States on May 17, 2018. Lava is spewing more than 60 metres into the air and spread around 36,000 square metres. (Photo by USGS / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HAWAII, USA - MAY 17: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'USGS / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Ash plume rises following a massive volcano eruption on Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, United States on May 17, 2018. Lava is spewing more than 60 metres into the air and spread around 36,000 square metres. (Photo by USGS / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PAHOA, HI - MAY 15: Lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano amidst stars on Hawaii's Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater 'has raised the potential for explosive eruptions' at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People watch as ash erupt from the Halemaumau crater near the community of Volcano during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
PAHOA, HI - MAY 15: Plants grow in cracks on a hardened lava flow from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 15, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The section of the hardened lava flow marks the point where lava stopped flowing towards the town in 2014, saving the town from destruction. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater �as raised the potential for explosive eruptions�at the volcano. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
PAHOA, HI - MAY 13: Lava and smoke explodes from Fissure 17 at Leilani Estates in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, on May 13, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. The U.S. Geological Survey said a recent lowering of the lava lake at the volcano's Halemaumau crater �as raised the potential for explosive eruptions�at the volcano. Authorities have confirmed a 16th lava fissure opened in the vicinity of Pahoa. (Photo by Andrew Richard Hara/Ena Media Hawaii/Getty Images)
Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
PAHOA, HI - MAY 6: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a lava flow moves on Makamae Street after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 6, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
Kilauea volcano's summit lava lake shows a significant drop of roughly 220 metres below the crater rim in this wide angle camera view showing the entire north portion of the Overlook crater in Hawaii, U.S. May 6, 2018. Picture taken on May 6, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
PAHOA, HI - MAY 06: A plume of volcanic gas mixed with smoke from fires caused by lava rises (C) amidst clouds in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 6, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the island May 4. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur dioxide gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
PAHOA, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a fissure produces lava after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
A new fissure spraying lava fountains as high as about 230 feet (70 m), according to United States Geological Survey, is shown from Luana Street in Leilani Estates subdivision on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone in Hawaii, U.S., May 5, 2018. Photo taken May 5, 2018. US Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, ash sprews from the Puu Oo crater on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
A fissure on Leilani and Kaupili Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision caused by an eruption of the Kilauea Volcano is shown following a series of earthquakes, in Hawaii, U.S. on May 4, 2018. Picture taken on May 4, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a fissure forms on the west flank of the Puu Oo crater on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
PAHOA, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a fissure produces lava after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, ash sprews from the Puu Oo crater on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
A fissure on Leilani and Kaupili Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision caused by an eruption of the Kilauea Volcano is shown following a series of earthquakes, in Hawaii, U.S. on May 4, 2018. Picture taken on May 4, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, the U.S., May 5, 2018. U.S. Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Signs hang in the entrance of an evacuation center in Pahoa available to residents of the Puna communities of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, home to about 1,700 people, who were forced to leave their homes after the Kilauea Volcano, one of five on the island, erupted on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the last couple of days, in Hawaii, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
PAHOA, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, a fissure about 150m long produces lava after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HI - MAY 3: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, ash sprews from the Puu Oo crater on Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on May 3, 2018 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The governor of Hawaii has declared a local state of emergency near the Mount Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,700 residents. (Photo by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images)
A dog waits for its owner to return at a pet-friendly evacuation center in Pahoa available to residents of the Puna communities of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens who were forced to leave their homes after the Kilauea Volcano erupted on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the last couple of days, in Hawaii, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Steam cracks are shown before a fissure opened on Kaupili Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision caused by an eruption of the Kilauea Volcano is shown following a series of earthquakes, in Hawaii, U.S. on May 4, 2018. Picture taken on May 4, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, the U.S., May 5, 2018. U.S. Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A fissure on Leilani and Kaupili Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision caused by an eruption of the Kilauea Volcano is shown following a series of earthquakes, in Hawaii, U.S. on May 4, 2018. Picture taken on May 4, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
A crack opens up on Pohoiki Road, Lava near Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone, Hawaii, the U.S., May 5, 2018. U.S. Geological Survey/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
An HVO geologist collects samples of spatter by fissure 10 from the Kilauea volcano, in the Leilani Estates in Hawaii, U.S. May 6, 2018. Picture taken on May 6, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
USGS scientists monitor Kilauea volcano's eruption spatter on the roads in the Leilani Estates in Hawaii, U.S. May 6, 2018. Picture taken on May 6, 2018. USGS/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
PAHOA, HI - MAY 06: A structure burns as lava from volcanic fissures slowly advances in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 6, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the island May 4. The volcano has spewed lava and high levels of sulfur gas into communities, leading officials to order 1,700 to evacuate. Officials have confirmed 26 homes have now been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava erupts from a fissure on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke and lava erupt from a fissure near a home on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Gases rise from a fissure on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Lava erupts from a fissure on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Lava erupts from a fissure on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Smoke and lava erupt from a fissure near a home on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Cracks are visible along a road in the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
A crack is seen in a road in the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Volcanic gases rise from the ground in the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
A bouquet and a lei rest on a lava flow in the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
A driver steers through volcanic gasses in the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Lava erupts from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., May 12, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Bystanders watch lava erupt from a fissure east of the Leilani Estates subdivision during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano, U.S., May 12, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
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A new fissure opened up just before the latest tremor on Friday, the Defense Agency said in a text message, making a total of four found so far in residential areas.

The volcano, one of five on the island, began erupting on Thursday after a series of earthquakes over the past week, the USGS reported on its website. Starting around 11 a.m. on Friday, the island experienced a flurry of earthquakes, the largest registering magnitude 5.8.

Residents in Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions, home to about 1,700 people, were ordered to evacuate after public works officials reported steam and lava erupting from fissures in the road, the Civil Defense agency said.

No injuries or deaths were reported.

"There are lava tubes on our property," said Dale Miller, 58, a Leilani Estates resident, referring to the natural tunnels underground that drain lava during an eruption. "The whole thing is Swiss cheese."

"It felt like there was something under the house -– like a big snake was moving under the house," said Lee Begaye, 61, Miller's partner and housemate. Lee added this was the first time in eight years of living by the volcano that they'd had to evacuate.

Civil defense officials have warned the public about high levels of sulfur dioxide near the volcano, one reason for the evacuation orders. The gas 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 came to the shelter at 3 a.m. on Friday because of the sulfur. "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," he said on Twitter to residents living near the volcano.

One resident, Ikaika Marzo, told Hawaii News Now he saw "fountains" of lava as high as 125 feet (38 meters). Others also told the news network they smelled burning brush and heard tree branches snapping.

Footage from a drone aired on the Hawaii News Now website showed lava incinerating trees as it crept near structures.

A 492-foot-long (150-meter) fissure erupted with lava for about two hours in Leilani Estates at about 5:30 p.m., the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said on its website.

Lava, which can reach temperatures of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,150 Celsius), spread less than about 10 meters (33 feet) from the fissure, the observatory said.

"The opening phases of fissure eruptions are dynamic and uncertain. Additional erupting fissures and new lava outbreaks may occur," it said.

A plume of red ash rose from the volcano's Pu'u 'O'o vent high into the sky over the island, according to photos on social media.

Production at the Puna Geothermal plant was suspended until further notice, the Civil Defense Agency said on Friday, while Hawaii Electric Light said crews were disconnecting power in the areas affected by the active lava flow.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 48 square miles (125 square km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists say it is nearly impossible to predict how long an eruption will last.

Betty Long, 72, another Leilani Estates resident, evacuated to the shelter near Pahoa in the early hours of Friday morning, but her husband stayed behind with their pets because he was afraid of looters.

"I think my husband is like a lot of residents there" who are assuming looting is going to be a problem. "That's why they are reluctant to leave," she said.

Long said that while their retirement home is a gorgeous place to live, it comes with risks. She and her husband faced a choice between purchasing hurricane or volcano insurance. They chose the hurricane insurance, she said.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Bill Tarrant; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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