Slow-moving lava has destroyed at least five homes that burned to the ground on Hawaii’s Big Island where almost 2,000 people evacuated their homes since the Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday. The eruption was followed by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake Friday, which was the most powerful to hit the island since 1975. Then at least eight openings in the ground were created, known as vents, through which lava and toxic sulfur dioxide gas was released. These eruption points follow a familiar pattern: they open up, and suddenly molten lava starts shooting into the air and destroying everything in its path. That dynamic led to some incredible videos and photographs.
While the slow moving lava is great for the cameras, authorities warned that something that can’t be seen with the naked eye can potentially be just as dangerous. The sulfur dioxide gas released through these fissures is “an immediate threat to life for all who become exposed,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a statement. For now, things have calmed down a bit but authorities are warning Kilauea is likely to release more lava through additional vents.