Hawaii volcano has destroyed 600 homes, officials say

Kilauea

Kilauea

Over 600 homes destroyed by lava rivers in Hawaii.

HONOLULU - Lava from the Kilauea volcano that flowed into Kapoho Bay has created almost a mile of new land and officials with the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday the flow is still very active and there's no way to know when the eruption will end or if more lava-spewing vents will open.

Kilauea, the most active of Hawaii's five volcanoes, is feared to be on the brink of another major eruption after being rattled by more than 500 earthquakes over the weekend.

A Hawaii volcano continues to erupt from a vent in a Big Island community, sending a stream of lava toward the ocean.

An eruption at Kilauea summit jolted the area Wednesday with the force of a 5.4 magnitude natural disaster and hurled an ash plume that reached 10,000 feet above sea level.

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     EARTHQUAKE The tremor struck near the crater
GOOGLE EARTHQUAKE The tremor struck near the crater

The latest volcanic eruption, which entered its 36th day on Thursday, stands as the most destructive in the United States since at least the cataclysmic 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state that reduced hundreds of square miles to wasteland, according to geologist Scott Rowland, a volcano specialist from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

"Vacationland is gone, there's no evidence of any properties there at all", Wendy Stovall, a vulcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), told reporters on a conference call. While the delta margin nearest the ocean has cooled somewhat, the lava flow front is still very hot and producing laze (lava haze).

There are no homes left in the Vacationland subdivision and neighboring Kapoho has only a few homes left standing.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say they don't know when the volcanic activity will stop. Residents have been warned to avoid the area.

Frequent earthquakes, mostly of relatively small magnitude but numbering in the thousands, have persisted throughout the eruption, adding to the jitters of residents living closest to the volcano.


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