Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Lava destroys 600 homes on Hawaii's Big Island - mayor

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Patty Aguilar | 10 June, 2018, 22:43

The lava from Fissure 8 is feeding one channel that is flowing into the ocean at Kapoho Bay, creating land that now juts out almost a mile from the former shoreline.

The ownership of this so-called "lava extension" has been determined by a 1955 Supreme Court ruling.

As the lava marched toward the bay, it vaporized Hawaii's largest freshwater lake, which was hundreds of feet deep in some places.

Since May 3rd, Kilauea's lava, ash and rocks have destroyed about 600 homes, closed major highways and prompted health warnings.

Lava has been flowing for a month on the Big Island and it's now reshaping the coastline as it spills out to sea. This is good news for the dozens of homeowners whose properties were wiped out.

County officials said the two subdivisions have 279 homes, and most are feared destroyed from the most recent lava flows in the low-laying area.

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Click to enlarge

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, whose home was among those lost, said the increased toll makes the Kilauea eruption the most catastrophic event in the state's history.

The latest estimate of property losses from Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, far surpasses the 215 structures consumed by lava during more than 30 years of an earlier eruption cycle that began in 1983.

In Hawaii, previous eruptions have destroyed small towns, but nothing on the scale of this outbreak. Fissure 8 is the origin of the lava flow that devastated the Kapoho area.

High levels of vog, or volcanic smog, from the eruption were moving north, officials said, in warning there could be poor visibility on roads and difficulties for people with breathing problems.

"Following that explosion, the seismicity settled down and so the summit was relatively quiet overnight and we had a good sleep as a result of that".

"I don't think any of us knew it would get to this point", Ige said, "Obviously things in the last few days have escalated significantly with fissure 8 continuing to put out a lot of volume of lava".

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