Locals have been told to remain indoors as gas and tiny shards of glass fill the air after the “vigorous” lava eruptions on the Big Island.
The earthquake took place at the summit of Mount Kilaeua at 4.10pm local time yesterday (3.10am today BST), with the quake measuring a magnitude of 5.6.
At the same time, a volcanic ash eruption was also recorded at Kilauea’s summit.
The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency sent an update to residents informing them of the eruption and the dangers of a gigantic plume of ash that had risen to 10,000ft high in the air.
The agency said: “An ash plume has been detected travelling to the southwest. Avoid ash by staying indoors.”
In a further update, the agency added: “The wind is blowing in the southwest direction and ash fallout may affect the areas of Volcano and Pahala. Please be on the alert.”
It also warned: “Volcanic gas output and ash emissions may affect air quality across the central and southern half of the island.”
Driving conditions would be hampered due to the eruption, and residents were told to prepare to pull over if ash blocked vision.
The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency said Hawaii was not under threat from a tsunami caused by the latest eruption, but locals should prepare for aftershocks, warning residents to make precautionary checks for damages to utility connections that supply gas, water and electricity.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory also recorded “vigorous” lava eruptions, which appeared in the lower East Rift Zone.
The Fissure 8 flow has filled Kapoho Bay and is extending 0.7 miles from shore.
The mix of sea water and lava can create ‘laze’, a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.
The Observatory put out a warning to residents in the nearby area saying: “Due to the current volcanic activity, the following policies are in effect:
“Government Beach Road, between Kahakai Boulevard and Cinder Road, is open to Waa Waa and Papaya Farms Road residents only with official credentials. There is no curfew.
“Residents in this area should heed warnings from Civil Defense officials and be prepared to evacuate with little notice.”
A US Geological Society (USGS) update two hours earlier said earthquake activity had been increasing after a small explosion took place on Tuesday June 5, recording ten +M3 earthquakes in the Kilauea summit area since 5am local time that same morning.
It predicted that more felt earthquakes and small explosions would be “likely” within hours.
The USGS also warned of the dangers of VOG, saying: “Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions.
“For the next few days wind conditions may bring vog not only to the south and west sides of the Island of Hawaii, but also the island’s interior.”