Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano creates new coastline

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County civil defense officials had a day earlier put the confirmed number of homes destroyed during the past month at 130, all of them in and around the Leilani Estates community, where lava-spouting fissures opened up on the volcano's eastern flank on May 3.

Kilauea, the most active of Hawaii's five volcanoes, is feared to be on the brink of another major eruption after being rattled by more than 500 earthquakes over the weekend.

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaii Volcano Observatory said lava "continues unabated" from Fissure 8, near the most populated area, with lava shooting as high as 200 feet. The lava filled Kapoho Bay within two hours after the eruption began and formed a delta extending almost a mile from shore as it cools, according to the USGS.


Geologists are closely monitoring one fissure which is producing a large channelized lava flow that's filled in Kapoho Bay and destroyed hundreds of homes.

The eruption displacing thousands of residents across the island.

So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's Hair", wispy strands carried aloft by the wind from lava fountains and named for the volcanic goddess of Hawaiian myth.


The smoke is a result of the lava hitting the ocean water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. "There are flows on the Kona side of the island that are much older than some flows on east Hawaii, they are much older but they have far less vegetation and that's just a reflection of the difference in rainfall".

For example, one small ohia tree was observed by a National Park Service employee last week during a tour of a two-year-old inactive flow.

But the land is still highly unpredictable, and once the lava cools and hardens it will leave behind a jagged, scorched landscape with razor-sharp shards of volcanic rock.


There are no homes left in the Vacationland subdivision and neighboring Kapoho has only a few homes left standing.

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