25 Surreal Images and Videos of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Eruption

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Steam plumes rise as lava enters the Pacific Ocean after flowing to the water from a Kilauea volcano fissure. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A new mandatory evacuation order on May 31 has residents of Hawaii on the move, prompted by eruptions from several fissures through the Leilani Estates neighborhood. County of Hawaii Mayor Harry Kim warned that residents who don't evacuate will risk being isolated and emergency responders may not be able to come to their aid. Residents in the Kapoho area were also advised to evacuate.

It’s the latest in a string of setbacks since Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii (Big Island) erupted on May 3, 2018. The eruption sent columns of ash plume and smoke into the sky that were visible from space and forced thousands of residents in surrounding neighborhoods to evacuate.

Kilauea is one of five volcanoes on Big Island and has been continuously erupting since 1983. Since the eruption weeks ago, there have been more than 2,250 earthquakes and 20 fissures — destroying dozens of homes and closing off entire sections of the island.

A resident enters his home as lava from a fissure illuminates the sky in Leilani Estates on May 25. The home is currently located about three blocks from the lava. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Another threat looms as the lava reached a major power plant overnight on May 27. The Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) uses steam from underground to power turbine generators that provide electricity, which is then sold to Hawaii Electric Light and powers the island. The plant's wells have been closed to prevent gases from seeping out and cooled down with cold water to balance out the steam's pressure.

"County, state, and federal partners have been collaborating closely to monitor the situation and work with PGV to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities. Ten of the eleven wells have been quenched," the Hawaii County Civil Defense said on its website. "Efforts are ongoing to make sure the site is secure and the community is kept safe."

Blue flames of methane gas have also been spotted in several areas on Big Island.

"When lava buries plants and shrubs, methane gas is produced as a byproduct of burning vegetation. Methane gas can seep into subsurface voids and explode when heated, or as shown in this video, emerge from cracks in the ground several feet away from the lava. When ignited, the methane produces a blue flame," the U.S. Geological Survey said online.

No signs of stopping

A second eruption more powerful than the first occurred on May 17 and sent ash 30,000 feet into the air, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The island is currently under a "red alert" aviation advisory, a warning to pilots of the danger of flying close to the toxic sulfur dioxide plumes.

After several more explosive eruptions, the lava made its way to the Pacific Ocean on May 19, creating a new hazard for residents. When lava mixes with water, it turns into "laze" (lava and haze), which sends volcanic gas and hydrochloric acid into the air. The fumes cause lung, eye and skin irritation and can be lethal. Officials have warned people to stay indoors.

The USGS also warned people about ballistic projectiles shooting out from the volcano. "At any time, activity may again become more explosive, increasing the intensity of ash production and producing ballistic projectiles very near the vent," the agency's website stated. One man was seriously injured when a projectile hit him in the leg, reports CNN. It's the first serious injury reported since the initial eruption.

Whether looking at the smoke and lava from the sky or the ground, it's apparent from these images that the volcano has left a wide path of destruction. It shows no signs of slowing down.

Lava erupts and flows from a Kilauea volcano fissure, near to the Puna Geothermal Venture plant. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Blue flames of methane gas escape from a crack near a Kilauea volcano fissure on May 23. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Structures are overtaken by lava flowing towards the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A steam plume rises and lava glows as it enters the Pacific Ocean at dawn on May 22. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava flows from a fissure on May 18, 2018. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A column of ash plume can be seen after a magnitude-6.9 earthquake was recorded on the south flank of Kilauea volcano. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey/Getty Images)
Lava from a fissure erupts on May 19 on the Big Island. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A steam plume rises as lava enters the Pacific Ocean near Pahoa, Hawaii. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Smoke and lava light up the sky at night on Big Island. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava burns near in a home on Big Island. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava illuminates volcanic gases from the Kilauea volcano at fissure 13. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava erupts from a fissure and rises above the treetops on May 17 on Hawaii's Big Island. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Smoke and volcanic gases rise as lava cools in the Leilani Estates neighborhood. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava from a fissure slowly advances near Pahoa, Hawaii. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey/Getty Images)
Lava is seen spewing from a fissure on May 4, a day after the volcano's initial eruption. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Resident Stacy Welch stares at lava next to a destroyed home located only 250 feet from her house, which remains standing. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The lava lake at the summit of Kilauea started to drop after the May 6 eruption. If it drops to the groundwater level, the danger of steam-driven explosions increases exponentially, says the USGS. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey/Getty Images)
Stars shine above as a plume rises from Halemaumau crater, illuminated by glow from the crater's lava lake. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava flows at a new fissure as a local resident walks nearby. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
U.S. Army National Guard 1st Lt. Aaron Hew Len takes measurements of sulfur dioxide gas at a volcanic fissure. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Cracks extend across Highway 130 in Puna, Hawaii. Parts of the highway have been closed. Officials think they are caused by the fissures. (Photo: U.S. Geological Survey/Getty Images)