Powerful earthquakes shook Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Friday, causing landslides, opening fissures near the Jaggar Museum, and prompting officials to close the park to visitors and non-emergency personnel for the immediate future. To the southeast outside the park, ruptures along the East Rift Zone downslope of the Kīlauea volcano continued to ooze lava and spray fountains of molten rock into the sky.
Two powerful quakes, a 5.4-magnitude temblor that shook the park around 11:30 a.m. local time and a 6.9-magnitude quake that struck about an hour later, rattled the park. The second earthquake “triggered rock slides on park trails, crater walls, and along sections of Chain of Craters Road,” a park release said. The 5.4 quake “caused a coastal cliff to collapse into the ocean near the Hōlei Sea Arch. Narrow fissures appeared in the ground at an overlook near Jaggar Museum, and throughout the day, rocks fell into the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s summit, creating dark ash clouds.”
Throughout the afternoon smaller earthquakes and aftershocks were reported. There were no reported injuries.