June 15, 2018 1:00 pm
Updated: June 18, 2018 10:10 am

Incredible aerial footage shows lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano reaching ocean

ABOVE: USGS helicopter captures incredible view of East Rift Zone of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano

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The summit of Hawaii‘s Kilauea volcano erupted early on Wednesday and fissures on its eastern slope sent fountains of lava up to 50 metres high, as the volcano showed no signs of calming down after six weeks of intensified activity.

A steam explosion at the summit will likely shower communities near the volcano with ash, the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency said.

READ MORE: Hawaii lava evacuee recounts neighbourhood shooting near flow

“The summit explosion produced an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4,” the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) said.

The volcano has produced hundreds of moderate earthquakes since it first began erupting on May 3, caused by magma draining from inside the volcano and moving underground.


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The USGS released aerial footage of the continued eruption, showing lava reaching waters edge on Big Island.

The magma has been spouting out of fissures from the ground along Kilauea flank, causing mass evacuations from communities. The most active fissure now, called “Fissure 8,” continued to pour into the ocean at Kapoho Bay, producing a hydrochloric acid mist called “laze,” formed when lava enters seawater.

READ MORE: Guatemalans bury dead after volcano eruption leaves 109 dead, 200 missing

“Gas emissions from the fissure eruption and at the ocean entry continue to be very high,” the Civil Defense Agency said.

The Kilauea eruption, now in its 41st day, has destroyed more than 600 homes, spread lava over 2,000 acres of land and opened up at least 22 fissures in the ground, according to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.

It is the most destructive in the United States since the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington, which killed at least 57 people.

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved federal disaster aid for residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged because of the Kilauea volcano eruption.

Gov. David Ige said Trump approved the request for individual assistance on Thursday.

Ige said qualifying residents may receive help from the federal government for issues such as shelter, unemployment, trauma and legal matters.

Hawaii‘s eruption, however, has produced slow-moving lava that has destroyed hundreds of structures but allowed people to evacuate, in sharp contrast to Guatemala’s Fuego volcano that ejected fast pyroclastic flows, which buried villages in burning ash and killed at least 109 last week.

© 2018 Reuters

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