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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Eruption Destroys More Than 30 Homes

08 May 2018, 01:22 | Marta Robbins

Road closed at Kahukai Street and Leilani Avenue in Leilani Estates as a precaution after cracks were found on the road. PC Mike Enriquez

Road closed at Kahukai Street and Leilani Avenue in Leilani Estates as a precaution after cracks were found on the road. PC Mike Enriquez

New photos released by the USGS showed a wall of molten lava from the seventh fissure in Leilani Estates and a new crack in one of the subdivision's roads.

Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed homes and forced the evacuations of more than a thousand people.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported Sunday night that lava fountains shooting from at least one fissure continued through the day, finally stopping about 4 p.m.

U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall says lava fountains spewed as high as 230 feet (70 meters) into the air Saturday night only 15 minutes after the initial eruption from a new fissure.

So far no fatalities or major injuries have been reported from the volcano, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

On Sunday, residents were allowed a brief return to their homes to rescue pets and collect personal belongings and medication but because new fissures have been sighted, residents have been evacuated indefinitely.

"My house is right in the middle", said Wilson, a 36-year-old social worker who turned back when he saw steam coming from cracks in the road.

Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting continuously since 1983 and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, has shown signs of increased activity over the past week, which led to hundreds of small earthquakes.

"I have no idea how soon we can get back", said Todd Corrigan, who left his home in Leilani Estates with his wife on Friday as lava burst through the ground three or four blocks from their home.

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The dwelling was across from a fissure that opened Friday, when "there was some steam rising from all parts of the yard, but everything looked fine", Makuakane said.

But she received alerts Saturday that motion sensors throughout the house had been triggered. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 48 square miles (125 square km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Cherie McArthur wondered what would become of her macadamia nut farm in Lanipuna Gardens, another evacuated neighborhood near Leilani Estates. "It's devastating. but I've come to terms with it".

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 quake on the volcano's south flank on Friday, the strongest tremor since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions were forecast, perhaps for months to come.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said eight volcanic vents opened in the Big Island residential neighborhood of Leilani Estates since Thursday. Some are at a slow boil while others spew 200 feet into the air. There was no indication when the lave might stop or how far it might spread.

USGS said: "Areas downslope of erupting fissures are at risk of lava inundation".

With time, the magma will find one pathway, officials explained, and other vents will start closing up as the lava hardens.

For many people outside Hawaii, it's hard to understand why anyone would risk living near an active volcano with such destructive power. "We had some pauses yesterday, but there's a lot of magma underground".



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