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Lava Destroys More Homes In Hawaii And Fills Coastal Bay

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HAWAII, Big Island (CBSMiami) -- More than a month has passed since the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island began erupting and there is no sign of things easing up.

The vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.

The intensity of lava fountaining at Fissure 8 declined overnight, and fountain height is fluctuating between 130 and 160 feet. Fissure 8 continues to feed a channel transporting lava to the northeast along Highway 132 and east to the ocean entry in Kapoho Bay.

Kapoho Bay is now completely filled with lava, forcing billowing clouds of steam into the atmosphere as hot lava hit the cool water of the Pacific Ocean. The Bay was where vacationers enjoyed tide pools, snorkeling and picnics.

In addition, hundreds of homes have been destroyed this week, including a house belonging to the Big Island's mayor, according to a Hawaii County spokesperson.

Watch: More Video Of Fissure 8 Lava


Over the past few days, much of the damage was reported in Kapoho and Vacationland and officials say they have no way to predict when the destruction will cease.

"It's a lot easier to forecast when an eruption will begin then to forecast when one will end," said USGS Geologist Dr. Janet Babb.

Lava is covering about an eight-square mile area or about two-tenths of one percent of the entire island.

"Depending on where the flow goes, there could be more damage ahead, so we're watching it," said Hawaii Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno.

There are other concerns as well.

"Actually what's really been keeping me up at night are the earthquakes, at the summit, it's been just rocking and rolling about every other day," said Dr. Babb.

There have been more than 12-thousand tremors since May 4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The island historically averages about one-thousand per month.



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