Hawaii Volcano Eruption: Devastating Photos of Kilauea's Rivers of Fire and Lava

Kilauea volcano's summit lava lake is seen in this U.S. Geological Survey aerial image of the entire north portion of the Overlook crater.U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images
A lava flow moves moves slowly along Makamae Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa after the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano. U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images

Lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet high from the erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed homes and other buildings on Hawaii’s Big Island. Dramatic photos show lava flows consuming cars and causing fires in forested areas.

Kilauea began exploding after a series of earthquakes. Rivers of lava have flowed into residential neighborhoods and at least 10 volcanic vents have opened up, officials reported.

The neighborhood of Leilani Estates, some 12 miles from the volcano, was evacuated due to the risk of sulfur dioxide gas, which can be life-threatening at high levels. Many of the 1,700 people under orders to evacuate from Leilani Estates on the eastern side of the Big Island were permitted to return home briefly during a lull in seismic activity from Kilauea.

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano's south flank, the strongest tremor since 1975. More earthquakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly blows off basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that flow into the ocean, but occasionally experiences more explosive events.

So far, no deaths or major injuries have been reported from the latest eruption, but the civil defense agency said at least 35 structures had been destroyed, many of them homes.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

A column of ash towers over Hawaii's Kilauea volcano after it erupted following a 5.0-magnitude earthquake.U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images
Lava engulfs a Ford Mustang in Puna, Hawaii.WXCHASING/Reuters
A man watches as lava shoots out of a fissure in Leilani Estates subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island.Frederic J. Brown/AFP
Red hot lava advances towards the camera in Puna, Hawaii. WXCHASING/Reuters
A plume of gas erupts from a fissure as smoke rises from fires caused by lava advancing towards houses in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in Pahoa, Hawaii. Mario Tama/Getty Images
Lava advances towards a metal barrier in Puna, Hawaii.WXCHASING/Reuters
Lava erupts from a fissure on Luana Street in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images
Steam rises from a fissure on a road in Leilani Estates subdivision on Hawaii's Big Island.Frederic J. Brown/AFP
Geologists collect samples for laboratory analysis near the intersection of Malama and Pomaikai Streets in the Leilani Estates subdivision near Pahoa, Hawaii. U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images
Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, on Kilauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone.U.S. Geological Survey/Reuters
Elijah Guerra helps unload a couch retrieved from Stacy Welch's home in Leilani Estates, Pahoa, Hawaii. Mario Tama/Getty Images
Stacy Welch photographs lava about 250 feet from her home in the Leilani Estates neighborhood of Pahoa.Mario Tama/Getty Images

Lava spewing in fountains up to 300 feet high from the erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed homes and other buildings on Hawaii’s Big Island. Dramatic photos show lava flows consuming cars and causing fires in forested areas.

Kilauea began exploding after a series of earthquakes. Rivers of lava have flowed into residential neighborhoods and at least 10 volcanic vents have opened up, officials reported.

The neighborhood of Leilani Estates, some 12 miles from the volcano, was evacuated due to the risk of sulfur dioxide gas, which can be life-threatening at high levels. Many of the 1,700 people under orders to evacuate from Leilani Estates on the eastern side of the Big Island were permitted to return home briefly during a lull in seismic activity from Kilauea.

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano's south flank, the strongest tremor since 1975. More earthquakes and eruptions have been forecast, perhaps for months to come.

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly blows off basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that flow into the ocean, but occasionally experiences more explosive events.

So far, no deaths or major injuries have been reported from the latest eruption, but the civil defense agency said at least 35 structures had been destroyed, many of them homes.

— Reuters contributed to this report.