Civil Defense: At least 533 homes destroyed by lava in ongoing e - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Civil Defense: At least 533 homes destroyed by lava in ongoing eruptions

Fissure no. 8 continues to erupt vigorously, creating channelized lava flows toward the sea. (Image: USGS) Fissure no. 8 continues to erupt vigorously, creating channelized lava flows toward the sea. (Image: USGS)
USGS photo of fissure no. 8 taken Thursday morning USGS photo of fissure no. 8 taken Thursday morning
The area of the earthquake is marked with the turquoise dot. (Image: USGS) The area of the earthquake is marked with the turquoise dot. (Image: USGS)
Channelized flows of lava are traveling from fissure no. 8 toward the sea. (Image: Mick Kalber/Tropical Visions Video) Channelized flows of lava are traveling from fissure no. 8 toward the sea. (Image: Mick Kalber/Tropical Visions Video)
Fissure no. 8 continues to erupt vigorously, creating channelized lava flows toward the sea. (Image: Department of Defense) Fissure no. 8 continues to erupt vigorously, creating channelized lava flows toward the sea. (Image: Department of Defense)
PAHOA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

New numbers from Hawaii County Civil Defense officials says that at least 533 homes have been destroyed in the ongoing eruptions in lower Puna.

Since lava broke to the surface, it has overrun 5,914 acres of land, or roughly 9.25 square miles.

Air quality also remains an issue as hazardous gasses and ash clog the air. USGS reports that the eruption from the lower East Rift Zone remains steady in Leilani Estates with few changes taking place over the past few days.

Lava is still flowing through the well-established channel from fissure no. 8 to the ocean at Kapoho.

Officials say that occasionally lava spills over the channel levees, and that the ocean entry remains fairly broad with laze being blown onshore.

Fissures no. 16 and 18 continue to ooze lava and mild spattering was observed near fissures no. 6 and 15 on Saturday. 

Large earthquakes and steam explosions at the summit of Kilauea have been occurring on an almost daily basis in the past few days, with one happening approximately 24 hours after the next, and scientists say the activity is following a "fairly reliable pattern."

Early Monday morning, a 5.3- magnitude earthquake shook Kilauea's summit, but it wasn't powerful enough to generate a tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Monday marked the seventh day in a row that there was an earthquake above a magnitude of 5.0 at the summit. None of them was strong enough to trigger a tsunami, and all of them were triggered by an explosive eruption at the summit. 

Seismic activity in the region has ramped up over the past month as eruptions continue. Over a 24- to 36-hour period, small earthquakes are building up until an ash explosion occurs at the summit, according to USGS officials.

"Following the explosion at the summit, the seismicity will sharply drop off, and then gradually begin to build up as we approach the next summit explosion," said Alex Demas, of the USGS.

Demas said these are not traditional earthquakes, like where rock breaks along a fault line, but it's what he calls a pressure wave from the explosion.

"So as long as the summit explosions continue, there likely will be earthquakes and ground shaking associated with the explosion," he said.

Experts expect heavier vog to blanket the interior and southern parts of the Big Island, wrapping around to Kona through the weekend.

The Department of Health recommends that residents with breathing issues should limit outside activities and stay indoors. 

Several residents have reported symptoms such as itchy throats and watery eyes and noses in response to the affected air quality.

Hawaii County Civil Defense said last week that it's beginning to scale back operations because while lava continues to spew from the earth at a high rate, it's flowing over areas that have already been covered and hitting the sea off coastal communities that have already been destroyed. 

"We've pretty much thrown everything at this event for the past month and half now," said Talmadge Magno, civil defense administrator. "Some aspects of it can kind of start to scale down as the volcano somewhat runs into a stable situation."

About half of the Leilani Estates subdivision's residents are now back full time, Magno said. The other half live in a part of the subdivision that remains under a mandatory evacuation order. 

Magno stressed that civil defense will remain activated round the clock, and that residents should remain vigilant. 

Eruptions on the Big Island started May 3, forcing thousands to flee their homes. The state has pledged $12 million to help Hawaii County pay for the mounting costs of responding to Kilauea's ongoing eruptions, while a host of other organizations have sought to begin efforts to house evacuees. 

Already, the county has shelled out at least $3 million for disaster response, according to officials.

[There are 24 fissures in Puna. Only one is spitting out 26,000 gallons of lava per second]

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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