Lava sparks mandatory evacuations on Hawaii’s Big Island

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The National Guard was activated and mandatory evacuations were under way Thursday on the Big Island of Hawaii as lava sluiced toward a community and menaced residents, authorities said.

Hawaii County civil defense officials ordered some of the 1,500 residents of Leilani Estates in the Puna district, on the eastern coast of the island, to get out late Thursday afternoon as steam and red lava began emerging from a crack in the earth in the Leilani neighborhood.

The eruption was reported at about 4:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. ET), about six hours after a magnitude-5.0 earthquake rattled the active Kilauea volcano following several days of smaller tremors, said the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, an agency of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The observatory said the lava was erupting from the volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. NBC affiliate KHNL of Honolulu quoted residents as saying they could see lava spewing from cracks in roadways.

Read more at NBCnews.com

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