Since eruptions began, dozens of fissures have opened up in the ground, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and thousands of lower Puna residents have been displaced. On Saturday, officials said that over nine miles of land have been covered by lava since eruptions began in early May.
Several businesses in the tourism industry such as restaurants, hotels and national parks have had to shut down or decrease employee hours due to a significant drop in visitors to the Big Island.
It all began on April 17, when scientists from the United States Geological Survey observed an increased pressure if the magma system beneath Puu Oo Crater, causing the crater floor to rise. A few days later, on the 26th, the lava lake overflowed onto Halemaumau Crater at the summit.
On April 30, the crater floor of the crater collapsed, causing the lava lake to drop.
Soon after, USGS scientists detected a series of earthquakes that signaled an intrusion of magma along the middle and lower east rift zone. The first fissure opened up in Leilani Estates on May 3.
In the next 3 days, a total of 10 fissures had opened up in lower Puna, setting the tone for a volcanic event that, more than a month later, still shows no signs of stopping.