Eruption of lava continues from vent in Hawaii neighborhood

U.S. Geological Survey map

The current eruption burst through the ground more than a month ago in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, where fissures ripped open and lava destroyed homes and wiped out several square miles of buildings and property.

Kim said it also marks Kilauea's most destructive episode in modern history. Sitting above an active lava lake, the erupting Kilauea has now covered almost 8 square miles of land with molten rock, with ash plumes rising overhead to 30,000 feet high.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige says the state was giving the county $12 million to help it respond to the eruption.

Kilauea began erupting lava in a residential community on May 3.

Explosive activity at the shield volcano on the country's Big Island has had a dramatic impact on the surrounding landscape.

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"Lava continues to enter the ocean along a broad front in Kapoho Bay and the Vacationland area and it continues to creep north of what remains of Kapoho Beach Lots", USGS geologist Janet Babb told Associated Press. In the weeks since, Hawaii's largest freshwater lake, Green Lake, has evaporated. "I'm talking about 600 families".

Lava flows across a highway on the outskirts of Pahoa during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 5, 2018.

The latest eruption began early Tuesday morning and was so powerful that it spewed ash almost a mile into the air and sparked a 5.5 magnitude quake, scientists say. The lake was hundreds of feet deep in some places.

Plumes of volcanic ash belched into the air by periodic daily explosions from the crater at Kilauea's summit have posed an additional nuisance and health hazard to nearby communities.

It has forced the shutdown of a geothermal energy plant that normally provides about a quarter of the island's electricity.