US Geological Survey seismologist Jana Pursley said there have been 119 earthquakes on the Big Island since Thursday afternoon.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake, whose epicentre was on the south flank of the volcano, was not large enough to cause a tsunami although it generated sea level changes around the island of up 40 centimetres.
Aerial footage showed orange lava bubbling up from a fissure around 500 feet (150 meters) long and spouting into the air like a fountain.
In anticipation of the eruption, authorities at Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park have closed more than 16,000 acres of land, including the Kalapan viewing point, which can draw up to 2,000 visitors per day.
In total there are five volcanoes on the U.S. state. It won't be just an hours-long eruption probably, but how long it will last will depend on whether the summit magma reservoir gets involved.
On Thursday, Kilauea began spewing lava into residential areas after a series of earthquakes over the past week.
Hawaii County officials said steam and lava poured out of a crack in the community of Leilani Estates, near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island.
Gov. David Ige activated the Hawaii National Guard to assist with evacuations and security. You could hear and feel the eruption a good half a mile away, and the closer you got, the more you could feel it. "Serendipitously epic!" and says it made for "another epic father-son lava moment".
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"I tell people, 'You just have to sidestep'".
Julie Woolsey evacuated her home late Thursday as a volcanic vent, or an opening in the Earth's surface where lava emerges, sprouted up on her street in the Leilani Estates neighborhood.
The eruption that began with lava flying into the sky from a crack in a road persisted with reports of molten rock spurting from several volcanic vents. Residents said the eruptions sounded like "hissing" and a "freight train". "The whole thing is Swiss cheese".
"It felt like there was something under the house -- like a big snake was moving under the house", said Lee Begaye, 61, Miller's partner and housemate.
Mayor Kim added, "This is something that people who buy there and live there, they have to accept that that's the risk of that area".
Emergency officials reported dangerously high levels of sulfur dioxide in the evacuation area and warned: "Elderly, young, and people with respiratory issues need to comply with the mandatory evacuation order and leave the area". The gas can cause skin irritations and breathing difficulties.
A volcanic crater vent - known as Puu Oo - collapsed earlier this week, sending lava down the mountain's slopes towards populated areas.
"We stayed because we didn't feel any imminent danger.
But I could hardly breathe yesterday".
Law enforcement sources tell Hawaii News Now that lava is being spotted in the community, including seeping out of cracks in the road. It was on the other side of the Big Island and was felt very strongly on the island of Oahu, but that was a deep natural disaster.