HONOLULU Hawaii residents have received a glowing reminder of what life on an active volcano can be like.
Lava, which flows from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, started from several columns in the subdivision of Leilani Estates in the Puna district on Thursday, after days of small earthquakes. Parts of Puna are located in the eastern ditch zone of the volcano.
Eight cracks have spread throughout the rural area and appear in roads, forest areas and some driveways. Lava and poisonous steam streamed out of the cracks, sometimes causing an explosive display. The activity in these newly opened columns usually takes hours before it "shuts off," according to the US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
On Saturday afternoon, Hawaii County officials said more lava outbreaks were likely.
"In the future, more cracks are expected to open, with the possibility of letting more lava flow out of the cracks," Tina Neal, leading scientist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said in a Facebook post.
"Residents can expect more earthquakes in the days and weeks ahead as the volcano adapts to the intrusion of magma."
Officials ordered a compulsory evacuation to thousands of residents of the Leilani Estates subdivisions and Lanipuna Gardens. 2,600 visitors were evacuated from the Volcanoes National Park, which gives visitors access to the lava vantage points
The activity was intensified on Friday after powerful, opposing earthquakes had raged through the island. More cracks opened, spewing even more lava on Saturday mornings as older cracks became inactive.
"It's really nerve-wracking," said Francis Cristobal, a resident of Hilo, HuffPost on Friday. Cristobal lives more than 32 kilometers from Leilani Estates, but shakings have damaged some items in his high-rise apartment.
"There's something really raw at the bottom," he said. "As humans, we think we can rely on solid ground, and if that shakes, it shakes you to the bone."
The recent earthquakes were triggered by the continued infiltration of magma. The "movement of large quantities of underground molten material burdens the volcano," Neal explained.
And while the imagery of the lava-consuming streets looks intense, Neal said on Friday that the crack activity is relatively low and there was no extended lava flowing so far.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Since 1
So far, at least five homes have been destroyed by the eruptions, according to the Mayor of Hawaii, Harry Kim's office. No injuries were reported.
The threat of lava is not the only danger to the inhabitants. Officials warn the public to stay away from the area as the fissures also emit deadly sulfur dioxide gas.
See more photos of Kilauea and the Lava sneaking down through Hawaii Leilani Estates district.