NZ scientists keeping close watch on Hawaii's volcanic eruption

New Zealand scientists are monitoring Hawaii's volcanic eruptions in the hope it will help us prepare if an eruption was to happen in here.

The Kilauea volcano began spewing lava at around 9pm on Thursday night (local time) forcing hundreds of residents on Hawaii's Big Island to evacuate.

On Sunday morning (local time) two additional lava fissures opened up, bringing the number of eruptions to 10.

The eruptions of Kilauea are similar to what could happen on Auckland's volcanic field.

The University of Auckland environment science professor Shane Cronin says those in the field are monitoring the progression of Kilauea closely.

"There's definitely a lot to learn from Hawaii that we would be applying here. The key thing they'll be trying to figure out is how to pinpoint, in future, where these breakouts might happen.

"How these eruptions begin - particularly when the cracks are forming and the beginning stages of the eruption - those are really important things for us to observe to figure out how things might happen in our situation."

Professor Cronin says Aucklanders shouldn't be worried about a chain reaction affecting volcanoes in New Zealand.

"I don't think there's any alarm bells ringing but it's a situation that we'll be paying a really close eye on."

Kilauea is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the islands of Hawaii. Located along the southern shore of the island, the volcano is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.