Explosive eruption reported from Hawaii's Kilauea

Hawaii volcano The Halemaumau crater is collapsing

GETTY USGSHawaii volcano The Halemaumau crater at the volcano's summit is collapsing

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed since the volcano began erupting a month ago and shelters are starting to reach capacity.

More than 600 homes have been destroyed by the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii in more than a month since lava began flowing, confirmed a top official.

A Hawaii volcano continues to erupt from a vent in a Big Island community, sending a stream of lava toward the ocean.

Scientists said that while the height of the lava is variable depending on the source and local topography, much of the area is covered in 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) of lava.

As the fiery eruption of Kilauea continues to force evacuations on the Big Island of Hawaii, authorities are warning about other phenomena that could harm those in the area.

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More recently a huge river of lava that has crept several miles across the landscape to the eastern tip of the island engulfed two entire seaside housing subdivisions - Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland.

Hawaii county Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday said the homes were destroyed in three days at Vacationland and Kapoho Beach Lots in Pahoa, including the Mayor's own house in Vacationland, Xinhua news agency reported. The rest of the losses have occurred in the Leilani Estates area, where the toll of destruction has been steadily rising by the day. "Don't forget the farmers, don't forget the ranchers, don't forget all the employees for them".

The eruption has spewed out enough lava to fill 45,400 Olympic-sized pools since it started, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

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. While the delta margin nearest the ocean has cooled somewhat, the lava flow front is still very hot and producing laze (lava haze).

Thousands of residents have been left shell-shocked by the devastation that's been pounding the island.

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