Hawaii volcano destroys dozens of homes, forces evacuations

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Frederic J. BROWN | AFP | Getty Images

Authorities, including police and the National Guard, check the identification of returning evacuees to their homes at Leilani Estates near the town of Pahoa on May 6, 2018.

The number of lava-venting fissures in the neighborhood grew overnight from eight to as many as 10, Stovall said, though some have quieted at various points. 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.

Kilauea (pronounced kill-ah-WAY’-ah), one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been erupting continuously since 1983.

The USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a notice in mid-April that there were signs of pressure building in underground magma, and a new vent could form on the cone or along what’s known as the East Rift Zone. Leilani Estates sits along the zone.

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. A magnitude-6.9 earthquake — Hawaii’s largest in more than 40 years — hit the area Friday.

It set Michael McGuire’s car rocking in his driveway, knocking things off his shelves and shattering glass in his cabinets near Leilani Estates.

He hoped to check on his home Sunday but realized it was too soon to be sure when, or if, it would be safe from the moving lava.

“I’m somewhat fatalistic: if it happens, it happens,” he said. “And I’m enjoying life here, so you know, you put up with a lot of things here. This is one of them.”

Noah and Laura Dawn own a retreat center about 3 miles downhill from the most active vents They were clearing out items Sunday and relocating up the coast indefinitely.

“We’re just removing all things of value to us and precious things because I have the feeling it could get real – real, real fast,” Noah Dawn said.



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