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Incredible Photos Show Rivers Of Lava Flowing Through Neighborhoods In Hawaii

The fast-moving lava flowed through residential areas and tropical forests before cascading off the coast into the ocean.

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been putting on a fiery show on the Big Island — and it’s been heating up in recent days.

The activity started more than two weeks ago, when fissures located along the lower slopes of Kilauea, known as the East Rift Zone, broke open and started spewing lava. The lava flowed into residential neighbors, forcing nearly 2,000 people to evacuate.

Since then, more than 20 fissures have opened up across the area, spraying lava as well as toxic gases into the air. At least 40 structures have been destroyed and on Saturday one person was injured by a “lava bomb” that hit him while he was sitting on his porch.

US Geological Survey

The US Geological Survey says that the lava is starting to move faster because it is fresher than the magma that was previously being pushed to the surface. At its peak, the flow was moving up to 400 yards per hour, according to USGS.

Over the weekend, the lava coming out of the fissures started moving faster, flowing downslope, where it crossed a highway and met the ocean. As lava flowed into the ocean, it created a massive white plume, posing a new hazard known as “laze” — a mix of hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles, according to the US Geological Survey.


Lava flows downslope Sunday and enters the ocean, but a laze plume obscures the point of entry. Laze forms from the evaporation of seawater when hot lava enters the ocean, creating a condensed seawater steam that is laced with hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles.


This aerial photo taken Saturday shows fissures spewing lava into the air. Because of the recent eruptions, residents have been warned of increased sulfur dioxide levels and are urged to take action to limit exposure.

Andrew Richard Hara / Getty Images

Lava covers a road, pulling down a transportation sign and electricity wires. The National Park Services and the Hawaii Department of Transportation are working to clear hardened lava off of Chain of Craters Road in order to open it up as an evacuation route.


Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

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