Published: Mon, May 07, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Dozens of homes destroyed as fierce Hawaii volcano spews lava

Dozens of homes destroyed as fierce Hawaii volcano spews lava

Garnett said she left the animals water but anxious they might die from the poison gases that often accompany this kind of lava flow.

The number of homes destroyed by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano jumped to 21 Sunday as scientists reported lava spewing more than 200 feet (61 meters) into the air. "As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue", U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said.

Big Island civil defense officials also said Sunday morning two new fissures, or vents where lava has broken through the ground, have emerged in the Leilani Estates subdivision.

The Hawaii Fire Department reported extremely high levels of risky sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area, the Civil Defense Agency said.

At least five volcanic vents have opened, Magno said, indicating that at least one home and another structure were destroyed by lava. The largest natural disaster so far was a magnitude 6.9 quake caused by the movement of magma underneath the volcano.

It set Michael McGuire's vehicle rocking in his driveway, knocking things off his shelves and shattering glass in his cabinets in an area near Leilani Estates.

Officials ordered more than 1,700 people out of Big Island communities near the lava, warning of the dangers of spattering hot rock and high levels of sulfuric gas that could threaten the elderly and people with breathing problems. He monitored remote cameras set up in his home and said his home was still intact. They came just as some residents were trying to evacuate, causing more complications and panic.

Hours before Thursday's eruption, a 5.0-magnitude temblor shook the area.

About 14,000 customers of Hawaii Electric Light lost power immediately after the quake.

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From 1990 through 1991, lava slowly overtook the town of Kalapana, burning homes and covering roads and gardens.

Local officials closed volcano viewing areas while a portion of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was also closed.

Kilauea (pronounced kill-ah-WAY'-ah), one of the world's most active volcanoes, has been erupting continuously since 1983.

"Those occur when lava flows encounter vegetated areas and vegetation burns and releases methane gas", Stovall said.

Indeed, the last eruptions in this part of the island happened around 60 years ago - in 1955, near the village of Nanawale, just north of the subdivision of Leilani Estates. The danger is of such magnitude that it warrants preemptive and protective action in order to provide for the safety, health and welfare of the residents of Leilani Estates and surrounding areas.

News, two houses have been burned down by lava coming from the volcano.

The crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers. She later confirmed that lava had covered her property.

Kilauea - which according to Hawaiian folklore is home to Pele, the volcano goddess - saw almost continuous activity during the 19th century.

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