Hawaii has been struck with 270 earthquakes in just one day as the Kilauea volcano continues to billow toxic ash and spout lava across the island.
More than three weeks after the eruptions first began, Mount Kilauea is showing no signs of stopping.
Photos of the island show a landscape devastated by red hot lava flows and burning trees and shrubbery.
Yesterday’s volcanic activity sent ash clouds up to 14,764 feet into the atmosphere, sparking concerns that dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide gas and ash could combine with moisture and dust in the air to cause volcanic smog, or ‘vog.’
Hawaii has been struck with 270 earthquakes in just one day as the Kilauea volcano continues to billow toxic ash and spout lava across the island (Lava flows are seen entering the sea along the coastline during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii)
Residents watch as lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure advances on a roadway in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii’s Big Island, on May 25
The vog carries tiny drops of sulfuric acid which cause respiratory problems, even triggering asthma attacks in sufferers, and cause damage to the lungs.
Winds are set to shift early next week, which could push higher concentrations of vog northwest where it could affect more populated areas, Bravender said.
U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard are on standby to evacuate for coastal residents
Meanwhile, lava streams have spread more than 5,400 acres destroying 82 homes in the process.
Lava erupts from a Kilauea volcano fissure in Leilani Estates, in Pahoa, Hawaii, where an estimated 40-60 cubic feet of lava per second is gushing from volcanic fissures
Yesterday’s volcanic activity sent ash clouds up to 14,764 feet into the atmosphere, sparking concerns that dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide gas and ash could combine with moisture and dust in the air to cause volcanic smog, or ‘vog’
Leilani Estates resident Bill Hubbard inspects a crack from a Kilauea volcano fissure while checking on a friend’s property, on Hawaii’s Big Island
Onlookers and media gather as lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure erupts in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii’s Big Island on Saturday
Hundreds of earthquakes shook the island in just 24 hours on Saturday
The extent of the destruction can be seen from space, with incredible satellite imagery showing glowing streams of lava flow from the volcano into residential areas nearby.
One image, taken during the daytime by the European Space Agency’s Earth Observation satellite, shows the bright orange and red lines streaming from Kilauea towards the ocean.
A similar picture taken at night by NASA shows the streams as purple, still contrasting brightly against the otherwise calm backdrop.
In comparison with all of Hawaii’s Big Island, the lava streams appear small, but they’re creating devastating scenes for people who call the volcano and its surrounds home.
Roads have been cut off, an estimated 2,000 residents have been evacuated by road and by air, and as the lava continues to spill, some of it hitting the ocean, the air is becoming more toxic to breathe.
As the area heads into the fourth week of eruptions,another 2,000 people living in coastal communities may be forced to flee as lava flows threaten to cut off their escape routes.
Flames and boiling hot lava erupt from a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii’s Big Island, on May 26
A Kilauea volcano crack stands in a roadway in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii’s Big Island, one of eight main islands that make up Hawaii state
Members of the Hawaii National Guard Public Affairs Team monitoring the press as they cover the activity at fissure number seven during a media escort mission
US Marines Corps helicopters are standing by to evacuate communities in the event that State Highway 130, their last exit, becomes blocked.
Explosions early on Saturday morning pushed ash clouds up to 11,000 feet above sea level, and the US Geological Survey says additional explosions are possible at any time.
A list of hazards published by the USGS suggests potentially lethal concentrations of sulfur dioxide gas could be present within a one kilometer radius downwind of the vent areas, and explosive blasts in active areas are could see massive pieces of debris and lava bombs go flying.
‘Explosive eruptions in the summit lava lake can throw fragments of rock and molten lava up to six and a half feet in diameter on to the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008 due to volcanic hazards,’ the warning read.
The USGS tweeted earlier that a lava flow had erupted near the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) geothermal plant. Fissures 21 and 7, burst open with fresh lava again yesterday putting the plant in the line of danger.
Officials have already shut down the power plant and moved 50,000 gallons of flammable chemical pentane, as well as deactivating wells that tap into steam and gas deep in the Earth’s core.
Several earthquakes struck near the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano this week, including one with a magnitude of 4.4
The quakes are related to the ongoing eruptions on the Big Island that have sent rivers of lava flowing into the sea
Earlier this week rare blue flames were photographed coming out of cracks in the pavement created by the earthquakes
Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions have been captured in hundreds of dramatic photographs, including some of rare blue flames coming out of cracks in the pavement earlier this week.
The blue flames are created when underground methane gas, produced by the volcano, escapes through cracks created by volcanic quakes and ignites from burning lava and vegetation.
US Geological Survey scientist Jim Kauahikaua said this is only the second time that he’s seen the blue flames during an eruption.
‘It’s very dramatic. It’s very eerie,’ he told reporters.
The volcano-related earthquakes have caused cracks to open up across the Big Island’s southeastern region.
In one case, a heartbroken family who evacuated during the early eruptions returned home to find their property perched dangerously on top of a massive 10-foot wide crack.
Noah Friend, his fiance Shantel Pacarro and their two children Naiah, 12, and Nainoa, 11, found the huge crack, which runs 500-feet through the backyard and directly under the home, threatening to swallow the property whole on Monday.
‘It’s just heartbreaking. There’s so many memories in that house. This is very devastating for our whole family, even our children. They grew up there. It’s the only home they knew,’ Pacarro said.
‘We’re all heartbroken.’