Homes Destroyed by Hawaii Lava Flows

An ash cloud rises above Kilauea Volcano after it erupted on Hawaii's Big Island


The activity appears to be continuing into the weekend, with strong earthquakes of up to a highly unusual preliminary magnitude of 6.9, more ground cracks opening, and new vents opening within residential areas.

Officials say almost 2,000 people on Hawaii's Big Island have been evacuated from homes after lava eruptions destroyed five houses. An estimated 1,800 people live in the affected area, and many have sought housing in shelters, with friends or on surrounding islands.

Small lava flows formed on Saturday.

Stovall says there is no indication when the lava flow may stop.

Eruptions of lava fountains continued throughout the night.

Five buildings have been destroyed by the eruption and subsequent earthquakes - and more are expected to be damaged. Residents have been warned to stay away from the active fissures as they can unexpectedly throw out hot rocks and lava.

Kilauea hasn't been the kind of volcano that shoots lava from its summit into the sky, causing widespread destruction.

Scientists reported lava spewing more than 200 feet into the air. On Friday, lava spatter was being launched over power lines. 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. They came just as some residents were trying to evacuate, causing more complications and panic.

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Shane Turpin, a resident of Leilani Estates, posted a video to Facebook early Saturday morning showing what is believed to be the eighth large fissure, surrounded by flames.

Kilauea volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii, has been erupting continually along its East Rift Zone since 1983.

Airport officials monitored the runways in Hilo for quake damage, and jetliners coming from the mainland carried extra fuel, so they could divert to Honolulu if the volcano becomes more active.

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 natural disaster on the volcano's south flank on Friday, the strongest tremor since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions were forecast, perhaps for months to come.

Since Monday, several hundred earthquakes - a lot of them around magnitude 2.0 - have been recorded in the area.

When that pressure built up, the surface around that had to move - producing sudden earth movement on a fault plane that separates the ancient sea floor and Kilauea volcano. The latest natural disaster, which was preceded by several volcanic eruptions, reportedly hit Hawaii's Big Island, the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. "Resort areas located on Oahu and Kauai, and in Maui County, are located hundreds of miles from Kilauea volcano", said a statement by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The area typically houses about 1,700 people, and most were told to leave last week.

Kauahikaua said that the current seismic activity is similar to what preceded an eruption of Kilauea Volcano in the lower Puna district in 1955.

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