QUAKES BY THE HUNDREDS

Dramatic photos show one of Hawaii’s most active volcanos on the brink of eruption

Ready to rumble?
Ready to rumble?
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
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Update, May 4, 10:30am ET: Mount Kilauea has erupted, around 1,500 people have been ordered to evacuate.

Residents of Hawaii’s Big Island are being told to prepare for a possible eruption at Mount Kilauea, one of the state’s most active volcanoes, after a series of more than 200 small earthquakes, CNN reports.

Kilauea has actually been erupting regularly since 1983, and its lava flows are one of the island’s biggest tourist attractions. The initial 1983 eruption sent lava more than 1,500 feet in the air, according to the AP.

But this time, local experts are concerned where a large lava flow might head. Jim Kauahikaua of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory compared this week’s seismic activity as similar to what the island saw before massive three-month-long 1955 Kilauea eruption that cut through almost 4,000 acres. Scientists believe that this time the lava is flowing toward the eastern parts of the island, near the population centers of Leilani Estates and Pahoa.

Aerial shots over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and other parts of Kilauea show smoke, steam, and ash emanating from the volcano, while other views have shown “skylights” or holes in the surface that reveal lava flowing below.

 

An aerial view of smoke rising from the Pu’u ‘O’o crater on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 2.
An aerial view of smoke rising from the Pu’u ‘O’o crater on Hawaii’s Big Island on May 2.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
Smoke rises from Kilauea’s Pu’u ‘O’o crater on May 2.
Smoke rises from Kilauea’s Pu’u ‘O’o crater on May 2.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
The summit of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling the volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent.
The summit of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Dozens of earthquakes are rattling the volcano as magma flows into a new area east of the Puu Oo vent.
Image: U.S. Gelological Survey via AP
A layer of red ash on top of an active lava flow with surface breakouts on Kilauea volcano, seen on April 30.
A layer of red ash on top of an active lava flow with surface breakouts on Kilauea volcano, seen on April 30.
Image: U.S. Gelological Survey via AP
A half-mile long fissure ejects steam resulting from the movement of magma beneath Kilauea’s east rift zone on May 1.
A half-mile long fissure ejects steam resulting from the movement of magma beneath Kilauea’s east rift zone on May 1.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
A half-mile long fissure ejects steam resulting from the movement of magma beneath Kilauea’s east rift zone on May 1.
A half-mile long fissure ejects steam resulting from the movement of magma beneath Kilauea’s east rift zone on May 1.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
Clouds of ash rise in the air over what was once a crater almost filled with a hardened crust of lava that is now a cavernous pit hundreds of feet deep, near the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of the Kilauea volcano, on Hawaii on May 1.
Clouds of ash rise in the air over what was once a crater almost filled with a hardened crust of lava that is now a cavernous pit hundreds of feet deep, near the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of the Kilauea volcano, on Hawaii on May 1.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
A large, so-called “skylight” was created when the roof of a tube collapsed, exposing the intense glow from the heat within a lava flow of the Kilauea volcano.
A large, so-called “skylight” was created when the roof of a tube collapsed, exposing the intense glow from the heat within a lava flow of the Kilauea volcano.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
A view of a crack in the surface of solidified lava near the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of Mount Kilauea.
A view of a crack in the surface of solidified lava near the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of Mount Kilauea.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori
Smoke rising from the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of Mount Kilauea.
Smoke rising from the Pu’u ‘O’o crater of Mount Kilauea.
Image: EPA/Bruce Omori

Correction: This story previously misspelled the name of Mount Kilauea.