9,900 earthquakes unleashed on Hawaii Island in the last 30 days

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

About two dozen recent fissures in the area have created towering lava fountains and bone-rattling explosions throughout the eruption.

Hawaii Civil Defense spokesman Talmadge Mango said Friday that at least 87 buildings have been destroyed since the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3.

Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than 100 homes in a rural Big Island district. Snyder said it was hard to count homes in that area from the air because of steam produced from lava entering the ocean.

An estimated 500 people live in the Kapoho area, but Snyder said it was not immediately clear how many residents, if any, had chosen to stay behind.

Those remaining in the mandatory evacuation area beyond the deadline were doing "so at their own risk, with the knowledge that emergency responders may not respond", the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said.

The new ash plume blew to the southwest, toward the island's Volcano and Pahala areas, and residents were warned to limit exposure to airborne ash, gas and volcanic particles. So too have airborne volcanic glass fibers, called "Pele's hair", wispy strands produced by lava fountains and carried aloft by the wind.

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Authorities warned residents for days to leave the area as well as nearby Leilani Estates and Vacationland - but some people refused to go, saying they would not abandon their homes.

Lava from a fissure near the volcano entered Kapoho Bay late Sunday or early Monday, forcing billowing clouds of steam into the atmosphere as hot lava hit the cool water of the Pacific Ocean. "We expect that natural disaster rates may increase in the coming hours to days and culminate in another small explosion, following the pattern of the past few weeks", scientists say.

"Volcanic gas emissions remain high at the Kilauea summit and in the fissure system", according to the latest alert Monday morning from the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency. So far, up to 18 people have been arrested trying to sneak past guards to take a look at the lava oozing through neighborhoods and toward the ocean. "And I don't know what to do", she said.

Lava was not the only challenge posed by the eruption. "It's so sharp, it feels like the glass is still in there".

Although the lava flow formed a channel from fissure 8 to the bay, other fingers of lava snaked north toward Cinder Road. The seven individuals will have to appear in court, Hawaii officials said.

Kilauea's current upheaval comes on the heels of an eruption cycle that began in 1983 and had continued almost nonstop for 35 years, destroying more than 200 homes.

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