The incredible scope of the Big Island eruptions, a disaster with no end in sight

Measuring the scope of the eruptions so far
Published: Jun. 13, 2018 at 7:57 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 at 5:11 PM HST
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VOLCANO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight weeks after eruptions on the Big Island started, officials are measuring the incredible scope of a disaster with no end in sight.

Here's a look at the ongoing eruptions by the numbers:

Approximately 30 billion gallons of lava have erupted from Kilauea since May 11, according to the governor's office.

The U.S. Geological Survey said earlier in June that fissure no. 8 alone was spewing out about 26,000 gallons of lava per second, with lava fountains currently spewing up to 18 stories high.

Fissure 8 is photographed on June 28. (Source: USGS)

How much new land has the lava created?

The eruption has created at least 460 acres of new land in the Kapoho area.

The new coastline is at least 1.3 miles in length, and the channelized flow from fissure no. 8 continues to enter the ocean at Kapoho.

In addition, fissure 8 lava fountains have created a cone of cinder and spatter that's now about 180 feet tall at its highest point. The USGS says fountains only occasionally rise above that point.

Lava enters the ocean at Kopoho on June 26. (Source: USGS)

The fissure 8 splatter cone is photographed on June 24. (Source: USGS)

How much has the lava destroyed?

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim has said up to 700 homes have been destroyed in the eruptions.

At least 657 homes have been confirmed claimed by lava, though, and at least 192 of those were primary residences.

But more than just houses have been lost on the east rift zone.

The county has received 28 reports of complete loss of operations from farmers, with damages totaling over $14 million.

Vegetation near Kapoho is photographed on June 28. (Source: USGS)

How much land has the lava covered?

Lava now covers nearly 10 square miles in Kilauea Volcano's lower east rift zone, the USGS says.

(Source: USGS)

How has the eruption affected the economy?

The largest tourist attraction on the Big Island is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and it's been closed since May 11.

Authorities have calculated the closure could cost the local economy about $455,000 per day.

That is about $17.3 million lost since extreme eruption activity began. The governor's office also says losses could add up to about $222 million annually when things such as tourism spending and local job losses are considered.

(Source: USGS)

What is being done to help those affected?

More than $100,000 in individual federal grants has been disbursed to Big Island residents whose homes were affected in ongoing Big Island eruptions, FEMA officials said.

FEMA couldn't say how many people had received the help, but confirmed 1,646 Big Island households have registered with the agency.

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