Eruption intensifies, lava continues to spread in lower rift zone

Eruption intensifies, lava continues to spread in lower rift zone

The eruptions from Kilauea volcano began on May 3, since opening up 17 fissures throughout the area.

The National Weather Service has warned residents of "light ashfall" throughout the day in Kau, the island's southernmost district, after a burst of volcanic emissions around 9 a.m.

Kilauea's destructive activity is expected to continue and more residents may be evacuated as the lava spreads. A new video shot by drone near the Leilani Estates where the fissures formed shows the extent of the damage in a whole new way.

Since May 3 when Kilauea began erupting, 19 lava-spewing fissures have opened about 25 miles from its summit, including one that tore through countryside close to houses.

The eruptions have forced over 2000 people to evacuate their homes, but local authorities say they hope tourists will still visit the island.

Residents near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano faced warnings on Monday that more lava-spewing fissures could open near their homes and that the volcano's summit may be getting ready for an explosion that could scatter ash and debris for miles.

So far, some 40 homes and other buildings have been destroyed by the red-hot lava that has been flowing from the volcano.

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"This morning, activity is dominated by lava fountaining, the explosion of spatter more than 100 feet into the air, and an advancing lava flow from fissure 17 at the northeast end of the fissure system", the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement.

Cracks along the highway have worsened in the last few days, with authorities fearing even more fissures could form.

The volcano is located in the far east of Hawaii's 4,028-square-mile (10,430-square-km) Big Island, which is home to about 200,000 people. "It's like a nuclear reaction or something".

Christian and Maritza Ricks, who moved to the area from California in April, stopped at the side of the road to watch and listen to the latest eruption.

It predominantly oozes out lava from fissures that flows into the ocean but occasionally experiences more explosive eruptions, such as an event in 1924.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports the fissures opened just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant. Plant workers last week as a precaution removed 50,000 gallons (189,265 liters) of a flammable gas stored at the site.

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