Powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocks Hawaii’s Big Island

Posted at 10:32 AM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-07 10:32:42-04

PAHOA, Hawaii – A 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook Hawaii’s Big Island around 12:33 p.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was the second large quake of the day – a 5.4-magnitude earthquake shook the Big Island, but neither caused any danger of a tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Both struck near the Leilani Estates neighborhood, where residents have been forced to evacuate. Authorities on the Big Island are warning of five eruptions that have already damaged homes, according to KGMB. Images showed lava shooting more than 100 feet in the air and bubbling up from the ground.

WHNT News 19’s David Kumbroch, who is on the Big Island and staying roughly 70 miles from the epicenter of where these earthquakes have been, said “We were at lunch at approximately 11:30 this morning and it felt like the restaurant were on a pier and it was being blown by the wind,” he recalled. “That was the first earthquake that was measured at a 5.4 magnitude. About an hour later the second earthquake hit. The entire restaurant braced. They could feel it underneath them shaking.”

Hundreds of smaller earthquakes in Hawaii shook the eastern side of the Big Island, near the Kilauea Volcano, one of the world's most active volcanoes.

It's located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has since closed off nearly 15,700 acres due to "the possibility of a new eruption and unstable geologic activity." But most of the park remains open, according to its statement.

Since Monday, hundreds of earthquakes -- most of them around 2.0 magnitude -- have been recorded in the area. The series of earthquakes came after a collapse of a crater floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which is a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea Volcano.

CNN Wire contributed to this article.