Hawaii's Mount Kilauea Volcano Eruption Progresses, 10 Volcanic Fissures Now Open

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

Eruptions have mainly the region of Puna in the southern part of Big Island, spreading down from Kilauea, the most active Hawaii volcano. Meanwhile, video captured earlier in the weekend showed eruptions gobbling up streets, cars, homes and utility poles. The vents initially spewed lava but had calmed down by late Saturday and were only releasing steam and gas. Stovall said the situation was "continually evolving".

Two new volcanic vents, from which lava is spurting, developed Friday, bringing the number formed to five. It was just one among the dozens to hit the area within 24 hours and was the most powerful natural disaster to hit the island. While the staff were able to restore electricity for half of the customers, the crew were obstructed to work further due to unsafe sulfur gas levels in some areas.

Fewer than a dozen people hadn't evacuated, Magno said, none of them in "the real hot zone".

In at least one case, the lava was flowing a quarter-mile beyond the crack, he said.

While lava continued to erupt intermittently in the Leilani Estates area - with red-hot lava fountains sometimes spouting 70 meters into the air - other eruptions have ceased. 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.

And the lava appeared to be extending further from its fissures, the large volcanic cracks through which it flows. No large rockfalls or ash plumes related to rockfalls into the lava lake, such as occurred yesterday during the large quake sequence, have occurred. "There's a lot of lava or magma under the ground so eventually it's going to come up". Activity intensified on Friday after powerful, back-to-back tremblors.

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Numerous 1,700 people under orders to evacuate from the Leilani Estates neighbourhood on the eastern corner of the Big Island were permitted to return home during daylight hours on Sunday and Monday, during a lull in seismic activity from Kilauea.

Authorities warned that the air quality remained troublesome and that the roads were still under very unstable conditions, and residents could be required to leave the area if conditions became more hazardous.

Resident Steve Gebbie initially stayed home when evacuations were ordered.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos and has been erupting non-stop since 1983. However, as the eruption progresses, other areas of the lower East Rift Zone may also be at risk. The contents of the crater seeped into a network of underground channels and flowed downhill _ and on Thursday started gushing out of cracks that had opened in Leilani Estates.

Authorities have locked down the Leilani Estates neighborhood in Pahoa, more than 25 miles from the Kilauea Volcano. Although the natural disaster could be felt across much of the archipelago, the worst shaking occurred in an area with no neighborhoods or businesses.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said eight volcanic vents opened in the Big Island residential neighborhood of Leilani Estates since Thursday.

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