Hawaii volcano has destroyed 600 homes, officials say

HOLLYN JOHNSON  Tribune-Herald Lava continues to fountain from fissure No. 8 Wednesday in Leilani Estates

More than 20 fissures are linked to this eruption, but Fissure 8 has been the most active and destructive, spewing a fountain of lava more than 200 feet in the air and feeding the flow that continues to create new land for six miles, east of the Vacationland neighborhood and the now lava-filled Kapoho Bay.

Twenty-four vents, or fissures, have opened up in a mostly rural district of the island since May 3, but lava was coming out only from one fissure, scientists said Friday.

According to Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, lava has destroyed more than 600 homes since early last month.

Much like the fate of the lava lake in Haleam'uma'u at Kilauea's summit, the lava lake in Pu'u O'o has disappeared since all magma was drained to the eruption site in the lower East Rift Zone from early May.

The volcanic gas and ash emission could affect air quality across the central and southern half of Big Island, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige says the state was giving the county $12 million to help it respond to the eruption. The new land has extended almost a mile out from the original shoreline and only a few buildings remain near the water.

Vacationland had about 150 homes and Kapoho, about 350 homes. "Don't forget the farmers, don't forget the ranchers, don't forget all the employees for them". The lake was hundreds of feet deep in some places.

An eruption at Kilauea summit jolted the area with the force of a 5.4 magnitude natural disaster and hurled an ash plume that reached 10,000 feet above sea level.

The Kapoho ocean entry (as of 6:30 a.m.), where the interaction of fissure 8 lava and seawater produces a white plume called "laze".

It has also forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.

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