Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Lava destroys 600 homes on Hawaii's Big Island - mayor

Lava destroys 600 homes on Hawaii's Big Island - mayor

According to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, lava has destroyed more than 600 homes since early last month.

Kilauea is the youngest and most active Hawaiian shield volcano, located on the southern part of the Island of Hawai'i, known as Big Island.

Kilauea began erupting lava in a residential community on May 3.

Places to stayKilauea volcano eruptions:Near-continuous eruptions.

More recently, a huge river of lava that has crept several miles across the landscape to the eastern tip of the island engulfed two entire seaside housing subdivisions, burying hundreds more homes there, while vaporising a small freshwater lake. The new land has extended almost a mile out from the original shoreline and only a few buildings remain near the water.

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One of the areas they have been used extensively is in capturing video of the lava flow in the lower East Rift Zone coming from the fissures in Leilani Estates.

Geologists say the ongoing eruptions have pumped out enough lava to fill more than 45,000 Olympic-sized pools and cover Manhattan in 6 and a half feet of lava. Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates "laze", a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

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

In addition to destroying homes and other structures, lava flows have knocked out telephone and power lines, causing widespread communication outages, and forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.

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