Lava from the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii continues to flow and cause destruction, but it’s still an amazing sight of nature’s slow-moving fury.
The U.S. Geological Survey uploaded a new drone video of the Kilauea volcano Thursday. In the new footage, lava flows from fissure 8 to create a river of lava to Kapoho Bay at Vacationland. This is on the southeastern tip of the island, known for its resorts and vacation homes.
Kilauea went active on May 3. The USGS tweeted Thursday that since then more than 4 billion cubic feet of lava has come from the volcano through more than a dozen fissures around the area of Pahoa. Lava from the fissures destroyed hundred of homes.
Lava, which is at its hottest, isn’t the only danger for the residents in the area. On Sunday, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake shook the island and created an ash plume reaching up to 8,000 feet, with future earthquakes still possible. Then there are rocks, some as big as a refrigerator, shooting out from vents. And, the various cracks and fissures emanate toxic sulfur dioxide gas that can cause the inability to breathe. To top it all off, when the lava makes its way to the ocean, it creates mists of lava haze, or “laze,” which contains hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles.
Hawaii officials began mandatory evacuations last week of parts of the area near the Kilauea volcano. More than 2,000 people were affected, and residents who don’t evacuate the area could be arrested.
One person whose home was destroyed by the lava was Mayor Harry Kim. His vacation home was part of the now destroyed area, which will require a lot of cleanup once the volcano settles, although scientists are not sure when that will be.