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Roads ripped up by rumbling Big Island Hawaii volcano

Roads and buildings have been damaged by earthquakes caused by an erupting volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Rocks the size of microwave ovens have been shooting out of the Kilauea volcano in the biggest eruptions for almost a century.

A Virgin Mary statue is silhouetted by the glow of a lava eruption
Image:
A Virgin Mary statue is silhouetted by the glow of a lava eruption

Rocks roughly 2ft in diameter were found in a car park a few hundred yards from the summit crater.

Long cracks have been seen in the island’s roads.

Boys look on from a  golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance
Image:
Boys look on from a golf course as an ash plume rises in the distance

Because the crater’s lava levels have been falling, stress faults around it have been moving – causing a series of earthquakes, one of them with a magnitude of 4.4.

While ash has risen as high as 3,650m (12,000ft) in the air, scientists say huge rocks and ash could potentially be hurled miles into the sky.

Photographers look on as lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases
Image:
Photographers look on as lava from active fissures illuminates volcanic gases

About 2,000 people have been evacuated and 37 homes destroyed after lava fissures appeared about 25 miles from the summit.

People are “just in disarray and frantic”, said Adele Tripp, an employee at the Kilauea General Store.

A massive plume of ash rises from the volcano
Image:
A massive plume of ash rises from the volcano

It has led to a red aviation alert, amid fears the plume of ash could blow into aircraft routes and damage jet engines.

In case lava covers major roads and isolates the area, a task force is being formed, Hawaii governor David Ige said.

Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii
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Lava erupts from a fissure during ongoing eruptions

About 1,200 soldiers and nine UH-60 helicopters are currently training on the Big Island, Hawaii Army National Guard Brigadier General Kenneth Hara said.

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