Hawaii volcano eruption brings the state's worst earthquake in decades

Right on the heels of Thursday's volcano eruption in Hawaii, a pair of earthquakes struck the state as residents contended with ongoing evacuations and noxious gas in the air.

The first, a 5.4-magnitude quake according to the United States Geological Survey, occurred at around 11:30 a.m. local time near the southern coast of Hawaii's Big Island, just south of Kilauea volcano. A second, 6.9-magnitude quake followed roughly an hour later.

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According to the USGS, the latter one was the state's strongest since a 7.1-magnitude quake that hit in "almost exactly the same location" in 1975.

Lighter earthquakes continued into Saturday morning as a result of ongoing volcanic activity. You can keep track of them yourself right here.

In a notice posted on Friday afternoon, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency had little to say about the tremors. The biggest threat continues to be the high levels of sulfur dioxide found in the evacuation area, released as volcanic activity causes fissures to open in the ground.

See incredible footage of the eruption:

That could change, however. "The [evacuated areas around Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens Subdivision] continues to be unstable with multiple volcanic eruptions happening," the notice reads. "No one is allowed into the area. Do not attempt to return to your home at this time."

Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard discussed the dangers of the noxious gas in a CNN appearance on Friday.

"Sulfur dioxide gas can be so toxic and thick in some areas that it can be fatal, especially to those who have respiratory illnesses,” she said.

"The wind can push [the gas] in different directions, so that’s a very serious concern given the high levels. ... [People] don’t necessarily have the kinds of protective gas masks that they would need if they were right in the thick of this gas."