Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has erupted near a residential area, prompting a local state of emergency and the mandatory evacuation of 1,700 residents. The volcano is one of five on the island and erupted after a series of earthquakes during the week, including a 5.0 tremor earlier in the day.
According to the Civil Defense Agency, extreme levels of dangerous sulphur dioxide gas have been detected in the area. David Ige, the governor of Hawaii, says he has activated military reservists from the National Guard to help evacuate thousands of people.
Local officials had warned residents all week that they should be prepared to evacuate as an eruption would give little warning.
High levels of dangerous SO2 gas detected in Hawaii Island evacuation areas. All residents of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens should evacuate immediately.
I am in contact with Mayor Harry Kim and Hawai‘i County, and the state is actively supporting the county’s emergency response efforts. I have also activated the Hawai‘i National Guard to support county emergency response teams with evacuations and security,” Governor Ige said on Twitter.
Kilauea is a currently active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands and the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Located along the southern shore of the island, the volcano is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago. It is the second youngest product of the Hawaiian hotspot.
Kilauea means “spewing” or “much spreading” in the Hawaiian language.