After a day of relative calm, volcano Kilauea roared back in full force on Sunday, spewing lava 300 feet in the air, encroaching on a half mile of new ground and bringing the total number of destroyed structures to 35, reports ABC News.
Activity from the volcano, which erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island on Thursday, also opened new vents on Sunday, bringing the total to at least 12 by Monday, according to Hawaii’s Civil Defense Agency. The agency said Monday many of the vents which had caused so much destruction on Sunday had calmed down.
There have been 1,800 residents evacuated from their homes in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens neighborhoods where cracks have been opening and spilling lava into the subdivisions.
“There’s no sign of this slowing down,” Hawaii’s Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said Sunday. “We had some pauses yesterday, but there seems to be a lot of magma underground.”
Magno also said Sunday about a dozen residents have decided to stay in their homes, despite the evacuation order.
In evacuated areas with relatively low sulfur dioxide levels, residents were allowed to return home for a few hours to collect belongings on Sunday and Monday. Officials said those residents, a little more than half of the evacuees, were allowed to return briefly, and Magno said they would continue to allow residents in if it could be done safely.
The activity had heightened Saturday morning, with officials saying the lava from multiple the vents had joined together in a concerning scenario. However, the activity slowed later in the day before starting back up again early Sunday.
Magno told ABC News that the Civil Defense Agency was starting to prepare for the worst.
“More vents could open up, the existing ones could get active again, which probably will happen after seeing what happened this morning,” Magno said. “There’s a lot of lava or magma under the ground so eventually it’s going to come up.”
The island was also rocked by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake on Friday, which caused landslides near the coast, but minimal structural damage. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said Sunday the island had experienced more than 500 earthquakes, 13 with a magnitude greater than 4.0, in the 24 hours following the 6.9-magnitude quake.