An eruption at Kilauea summit jolted the area Wednesday with the force of a 5.4 magnitude quake and hurled an ash plume that reached 10,000 feet above sea level.
Since the Kilauea volcano first erupted in Leilani Estates on May 3, it has spread more than four billion cubic feet of lava on Hawaii's biggest island.
"How soon vegetation comes back on a lava flow really depends on the type of lava it is, and how much rainfall there is in the area", said Babb.
Increased quake activity in the region earlier in the day fit what Stovall called a "pattern" for explosive eruptions at Kilauea's summit.
Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed due to persistent earthquakes and eruptions of corrosive volcanic ash.
HVO said the lava delta is 1.2 miles wide and added that "ocean entry is sending a large laze plume into the air along the coastline".
Hawaii volcano eruption destroys 600 homes, but creates more than a kilometre of new land
The lava, which has covered more than 5,000 acres (2023.47 hectares) in this latest eruption is not only expansive, but very thick.
The latest damage appraisal from Kilauea came moments after Governor David Ige, on a visit to Hawaii County Civil Defense headquarters in Hilo, the island's biggest city, signed a memorandum of understanding furnishing $12 million in immediate state disaster relief to the island.
Authorities began evacuating the greater Kapoho area last week and ushered most of the last remaining residents to safety early on Saturday, hours before the lava flow severed all road access to the region.
An estimated 2,500 people have been displaced by evacuations across the island since the eruption began five weeks ago, spouting fountains of lava and high concentrations of toxic sulfur dioxide gas through about two dozen volcanic fissures at the foot of the volcano.
There are no homes left in the Vacationland subdivision and neighboring Kapoho has only a few homes left standing.
Kim told reporters that in the last three days alone, 320 of the homes were destroyed in the coastal community of Kapoho along with all the homes in Vacationland.
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