Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano creates new coastline

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

Hawaii volcano eruption destroys 600 homes, but creates more than a kilometre of new land

It has been spewing molten lava, toxic gases, and spreading fissures since May 3. This new land appears stable, but hides a foundation of loose rubble that can collapse into the ocean.

Scientists say lava that poured into the low-laying coastal Hawaii neighborhoods of Kapoho and Vacationland spread across the area in just two days.

HVO said the lava delta is 1.2 miles wide and added that "ocean entry is sending a large laze plume into the air along the coastline".

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It won't look like the farmland that dominates that region of the Big Island anytime soon.

For example, one small ohia tree was observed by a National Park Service employee last week during a tour of a two-year-old inactive flow. "So, it's usually ohia and ferns that are the first pioneers of those new lava flows".

"Our responsibility is to try to work with the community to rebuild out of harm's way", Kim said.

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The latest volcanic eruption, which entered its 36th day on Thursday, stands as the most destructive in the United States since at least the cataclysmic 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state that reduced hundreds of square miles to wasteland, according to geologist Scott Rowland, a volcano specialist from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaii Volcano Observatory said lava "continues unabated" from Fissure 8, near the most populated area, with lava shooting as high as 200 feet.

People that have private property in the affected areas will still own their land, though it will need to be reassessed once the lava stops flowing. This is good news for the dozens of homeowners whose properties were wiped out. They too are cut off and inaccessible.

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Kim said Kilauea, one of five volcanoes on the Big Island, formally known as the Island of Hawaii, has never destroyed so many homes before in such a short period of time.

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