Hawaii volcano: Kilauea crater rocked by 5.5 magnitude quake

Elias Hubbard
June 14, 2018

An ever-creeping wall of lava from Kilauea Volcano has engulfed two entire seaside housing tracts at the eastern tip of Hawaii's Big Island, government scientists reported on Wednesday, an area where civil defense officials said almost 280 homes once stood.

The eruption has spewed out enough lava to fill 45,400 Olympic-sized pools since it started, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

More than 600 homes have been destroyed since the volcanic activity began in early may.

Tensions have been running high over looting fears in Leilani Estates, where lava has been flowing since early May on Hawaii's Big Island.

So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's Hair", wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcanic goddess of Hawaiian myth.

The eruption displacing thousands of residents across the island.

Lava has swamped the island's largest lake as well as the areas of Vacationland and Kapoho Bay. Sitting above an active lava lake, the erupting Kilauea has now covered almost 8 square miles of land with molten rock, with ash plumes rising overhead to 30,000 feet high. The new land in Kapoho Bay is now owned by the state, but the peninsula won't look like the farmland that dominates that region of the Big Island anytime soon.

The latest estimate of property losses from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, far surpasses the 215 structures consumed by lava during more than 30 years of an earlier eruption cycle that began in 1983.

For example, one small ohia tree was observed by a National Park Service employee last week during a tour of a two-year-old inactive flow. It is a shield-type volcano that makes up the southeastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii. There are homes still standing in several subdivisions that have been inundated by lava, but many homeowners are unable to get back to those properties because the lava has already cut them off.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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