Lava flow from Kilauea volcano destroys more homes on Hawaii’s Big Island

  • Lava flows from the erupting Kilauea volcano reached the houses on the largest of the Hawaiian Islands
  • Nearly 2,000 residents were evacuated

More homes on Hawaii’s Big Island were destroyed Saturday as several eruptions linked to the Kilauea volcano increased; spewing lava into residential areas and forcing evacuations to nearly 2,000 residents, officials said.

It is a scene dramatic — and dangerous — as a menacing new lava flow from the Kilauea volcano was on a collision course with homes in the Leilani neighborhood of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Toxic sulfur dioxide gas spewing near the fissures is at lethal concentrations, said U.S. Geological Survey volcano scientist Wendy Stovall. Lava fountains emerging from the cracks in the ground are producing even more gas than previously observed.

“Scientists on the ground are reporting that lava flows are traveling through the forest, power lines are coming down, and a few explosions have been heard — likely from propane tanks or methane explosions,” Stovall said via Los Angeles Times.

Hundreds of small earthquakes have also been recorded through the area on Saturday, one day after a magnitude-6.9 temblor; the largest earthquake to hit Hawaii in more than 40 years.

Kilauea is currently the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii. Located along the southern shore of the island, the volcano is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago. Kilauea’s last recorded eruption was January 3, 1983.