17 May 2018

Hawaii's Big Island hit by swarm of quakes

4:01 pm on 17 May 2018
People play golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

Photo: AFP

Dozens of shallow quakes have rattled Hawaii's Big Island where the Kilauea volcano summit is located, and has further increased fears among locals.

The strongest quake in the area at this time was a magnitude 4.4.

The quakes caused minor damage to roads and buildings amid growing concerns about a bigger steam-driven eruption at the crater.

Scientists said the quakes are caused by the ongoing deflation at the summit as lava levels continue to decline.

The floor of the caldera had also reportedly dropped by almost one metre.

Fears of an imminent crater eruption caused officials to issue a red alert warning around the summit.

Hawaii News Now reports Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, as saying the situation remains "very, very active and very dynamic."