Hawaii volcano destroys 9 homes, spews lava 200 feet upward

Hawaiians on volcano eruption watch as hundreds of earthquakes hit island in less than 72 hours.                       US Geological Survey

According to Hawaii News Now, at least one fissure continued to spew lava throughout Sunday and only stopped at 4PM.

The number of homes destroyed by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano jumped to 31 on Monday as scientists reported lava spewing more than 200 feet (61 metres) into the air.

'The high levels of sulfur dioxide are a threat to all who become exposed, ' the Hawaii County Civil Defense office said in an alert for the Hawaii volcano eruption. Officials said those residents - a little more than half of the evacuees - were allowed to return briefly, and Magno said they would continue to allow residents in if it could be done safely.

He was forced back on Sunday when he saw smoke coming from cracks in the road on the approach to his house.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and has been erupting non-stop since 1983.

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Her mother and father additionally dwell in Leilani Estates."The volcano and the lava - it's all the time been part of my life", she stated. She says there was some steam rising from all parts of the yard initially but everything looked fine. Lava flows from the volcano have covered 48 square miles (125 square km), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. She grew up here and lived in the house for nine years.

Neil Valentine and his family also left their home Thursday night in Leilani Estates.

Only one of the vents was active on Saturday night, but new and risky lava spurts of almost 100m have started again on Sunday and show little signs of stopping, said Hawaiian Civil Defence Administrator Talmadge Magno. "It's devastating. but I've come to terms with it".

Hundreds of small earthquakes continued to rumble through the area Saturday, one day after a magnitude-6.9 temblor hit - the largest natural disaster to hit Hawaii in more than 40 years. Where is lava flow now?

Jessica Gauthier, 47, said she and other local realtors had seen vacation renters cancel their reservations, even though the volcanic activity is confined to a relatively isolated area far from tourist centres.

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One of the newly opened fissures shoots out lava as high as 230 feet. There was no indication when the lava might stop or how far it might spread before it does. "As long as that supply is there, the eruption will continue", U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist Wendy Stovall said. Regardless, USGS scientists expect fissures to keep spewing.

The lava could eventually be channeled to one powerful vent while others go dormant, as has happened in some previous Hawaii eruptions, Stovall said.

For many people outside Hawaii, it's hard to understand why anyone would risk living near an active volcano with such destructive power.

Leilani Estates has about 1,700 residents and 770 homes.

The crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering earthquakes and pushing lava into new underground chambers that carried it toward Leilani Estates and nearby communities.

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State Sen. Russell Ruderman said he's experienced many earthquakes, but the magnitude-5.4 temblor that hit first "scared the heck out of me".

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