Hawaii volcano Kilauea continues to erupt this week, as lava oozes out of 22 fissures in Puna forcing thousands to flee their homes.
The volcano’s lava flow has destroyed more than 50 properties so far, with United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists still unable to determine when the eruptions might stop.
More than 10,000 Hawaiians have evacuated the region, particularly in the Leilani Estates, where the lava has taken over more than half the area.
The volcano has remained one of the most active on Big Island.
How long has Kilauea been active?
The volcano has been active for more than 35 years, with the volcano almost continuously erupting since 1983.
Kilauea has erupted like this on two previous occasions, in 1924, when one man died after 10-tonne rocks were hurled into the air, and in 1983, when the Pu’u O’o vent collapsed, sending lava 1,500 feet into the air.
Large explosions along the East Rift Zone are rare, but recent earthquakes dislodged much of the ground near the area causing massive amounts of damage.
Asta Miklius, a geophysicist from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said there is no way to know exactly how long the eruption will continue.
“One of the parameters is going to be whether the summit magma reservoir starts to drain in response to this event, and that has not happened yet,” Mr Miklius said.
“There is quite a bit of magma in the system. It won’t be just an hours-long eruption probably… so we are watching that very, very closely.”
How many volcanoes does Hawaii have?
Kilauea is a volcano on the largest island in the state of Hawaii, with the island also known as Big Island to distinguish it from the state.
Five volcanoes make up Big Island: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea.
According to gohawaii.com, Hawaii’s main volcanoes are “shield” volcanoes, which produce lava flows that form gently sloping, shield-like mountains. A good example is Maunaloa which deceptively covers half of Hawaii Island.
Of the five volcanoes, three are currently active: Maunaloa, Loihi, and Kilauea.
Kilauea (4,169 metres) is the most active of the five, remaining active and almost continuously erupting for more than 35 years.
The last significant eruption occurred in 1983, but the damage has been much more significant this time around.
The lava, which can reach temperatures higher than 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,150 Celsius), has ripped through the Leilani Estates.