Updated May 5, 2018

Hawaii sees 'active volcanic fountaining' as magma shifts

A man watches as lava is seen coming from a fissure

A man watches as lava is seen coming from a fissure in Hawaii. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

More than 1,700 people were told to evacuate communities on Hawaii's Big Island after a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions Thursday and Friday, CBS reports.

What happened: Per CBS, magma was shifting beneath the Kilauea volcano, which set off two earthquakes on Friday, one measured 5.4-magnitude and the second 6.9. The latter quake was "the most powerful on the island since 1975," CNN reported.

The details: Six volcanic vents opened, per CNN. Around 14,000 people lost power, per CBS, but it was restored "about two hours later." The 6.9-magnitude quake hit almost the same spot as the 1975 7.4-magnitude earthquake that killed two, the Washington Post reports.

The Post adds, there was "active volcanic fountaining" in the area that had mandatory evacuation, with lava "springing up from ground fractures...shooting 80 to 100 feet into the sky."

  • Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told CNN: "It doesn't look like it is slowing down."

Another concern for residents is high levels of sulfuric gas; Volcano expert Paul Davis told CBS: "It's sort of like you've injected ammonia into all your nose, into your breathing area, into your throat."

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