Videos show lava’s destruction as it spews into air, flows through Hawaii community
Dozens of homes on Hawaii’s Big Island have been destroyed, and four more large structures have been covered by lava as Kilauea volcano continues erupting.
Plumes of smoke wafting above blight orange streams of lava speckled the bright green terrain of Hawaii’s Big Island Monday morning.
WATCH: Drone video shows lava reaching homes in Hawaii after Kilauea volcano eruption
Helicopter footage shows lava flowing through the residential areas of the island, from which almost 2,000 people have been evacuated so far. Evacuees were permitted to briefly return to their homes to retrieve medicine, pets and other necessities.
Lava has spread around 36,000 square meters (387,500 square feet) surrounding the most active fissure, though the rate of movement is slow. There was no indication when the lava might stop or how far it might spread before it does.
The number of lava-venting fissures in the neighbourhood grew overnight from eight to as many as 10, U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said, adding that some have quieted at various points. Regardless, USGS scientists expect fissures to keep spewing.
“There’s more magma in the system to be erupted. As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue,” Stovall said.
The USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a notice in mid-April that there were signs of pressure building in underground magma, and a new vent could form on the cone or along what’s known as the East Rift Zone. Leilani Estates sits along the zone.
The crater floor began to collapse last Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing lava into new underground chambers that carried it toward Leilani Estates and nearby communities. A magnitude 6.9 earthquake — Hawaii’s largest in more than 40 years — hit the area Friday.
Videos taken by residents of the island show lava erupting from fissures in the ground just blocks away from their homes. In one clip, the lava can be seen scorching through a metal fence and slowly but determinedly making its way toward a car parked on the side of the road, which it eventually engulfed in flames.
“The eruption at Leilani Estates is about six blocks below our house,” one voice can be heard saying on the tape.
According to real estate agents in the region, people who move to Hawaii come expecting paradise, and the frequent volcanic eruptions often take them by surprise.
Kilauea alone is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and is one of five volcanoes on the island. Kilauea has been in constant eruption for 35 years, though it predominantly erupts basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that mostly flow into the ocean and occasionally experiences explosive eruptions.
“As a realtor, I can tell you that people move here thinking it’s paradise, and what they learn is that it’s something different,” said Jessica Gauthier, 47, who sells properties and manages vacation rentals on the Big Island.
“It’s a beautiful place to live, but it’s not for the faint of heart,” Gauthier said.
-With files from Reuters and the Associated Press.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.