Hawaii’s violent Kilauea volcano has triggered an eye-watering 40 earthquakes in just 24 hours as the beast erupts prompting a mass evacuation of more than 1,700 residents.
The state’s Big Island has been battered by a flurry of quakes in just one day with activity in the summit still recorded to be at frighteningly elevated levels.
The highest magnitude quake over the period has been recorded at a magnitude of 3.6 with the majority peaking at around 2.6.
The region, home to 200,000 people, is currently on orange alert meaning “major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected but it poses limited hazards to aviation because of no or minor volcanic-ash emissions”, according to the US Geological Survey.
Up to 1,700 locals and holiday-makers have been told to flee or risk death from the tons of red-hot lava fountains spouting up to 70 metres into the air or the life-threatening sulphur dioxide gas that could poison them.
Since the beast erupted on Thursday, 26 homes have been swallowed up by its magma, though no major injuries have been reported from the volcano, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defence Agency.
Geologists say this type of volcanic activity looks similar to when eruptions continued for 88 days in the area and covered around 4,000 acres with lava.
Big Island officials fear it is impossible to know how long the volcanic activity will last.
This comes after an eighth fissure erupted with lava fountains spewing and flowing for more than half a mile at 2am GMT.
Hawaii County civil defence administrator Taimadge Magno said: “It could be happening for a long time, or on the other hand mysteriously it could just end.”
One official said there was “no sign of things slowing down.”
Kilauea is ranked among one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is one of five on the Hawaii’s Big Island, according to the US Geological Survey.
Kilauea is located at the southern tip of Big Island, but as the lava spreads some are wondering whether it could reach the capital Honolulu?
O’ahu is the third largest of Hawaii’s six islands and home to approximately two-thirds of its population.
It is most famous for housing Pearl Harbour, a US navy base attacked by Japan during World War Two.
Honolulu is approximately 116 miles away from Kilauea and people visiting between the two would normally fly between the islands.