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Four weeks have passed since the first eruption rocked Hawaii's Big Island and lava continues oozing from volcanic fissures, burning homes to the ground and turning into rivers of molten rock.

By Tuesday morning, the lava had completely filled Kapoho Bay - shocking residents and frequent visitors who realized that their beloved bay was gone. The lava filling Kapoho Bay, an area that had been known for its tide pools and snorkeling, creates a delta of new earth more than a half-mile off the coastline. The area lies near the site of a seaside village buried in lava from a 1960 eruption. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) Lava flows across a highway on the outskirts of Pahoa.

The devastating flow that cut through Kapoho can all be sourced back to fissure no. 8, which has been creating fountains of lava for 12 days straight.

Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed more than 150 homes in a rural Big Island district, including that of Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.

About three dozen of those structures, mostly private homes and vacation rentals, were lost during the weekend in Kapoho.

The state is issuing citations to those who needed to be rescued from mandatory evacuation areas.

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 a health concern to nearby communities. By Tuesday, the lava flow had completely engulfed the bay and surrounding neighborhoods.

The flow, which is a half-mile wide in parts, entered the sea Sunday night, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, sending large plumes of "laze" - a unsafe mix of steam, gas and volcanic glass - into the air. (Reuters/Terray Sylvester) Lava flows into the Pacific Ocean.

Parts of the Big Island were rattled Tuesday, by a magnitude 5.5 quake, the latest in a string of smaller earthquakes that have struck the island since the eruption started on May 4.

He told reporters on Monday that temblors are almost continuous at the summit and that gas emissions remain "very high". Scientists say they are unsure whether the latest activity is part of the same eruption phase or a new one, and how long it may last.


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