More seismic activity expected on Hawaii's Big Island

Hawaii volcano The Halemaumau crater is collapsing

The number of homes and structures destroyed by lava on Hawaii's Big Island has jumped to almost 600 - making the Kilauea eruption the most catastrophic event in modern state history, Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim said Thursday.

Twenty-four vents, or fissures, have opened up in a mostly rural district of the island since May 3, but lava was coming out only from one fissure, scientists said Friday.

Lava erupts in Leilani Estates during ongoing eruptions of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, U.S., June 5, 2018.

The temblor came just hours after U.S. Geological Survey scientist Wendy Stovall said another eruption was imminent.

The lava also vaporised Hawaii's largest freshwater lake.

The lava has spread across an area of 5,000 acres and most of the area is covered in around 10 to 20 feet of lava.

The massive lava flow from Fissure 8 was spotted entering the ocean beyond what was once Kapoho Bay by a satellite on June 7.

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The fast-moving lava poured into the low-laying coastal Hawaii neighborhoods in just two days this week, destroying hundreds of homes. The new land in Kapoho Bay is now owned by the state, but the peninsula won't look like the farmland that dominates that region of the Big Island anytime soon.

Geologists on Hawaii's Big Island are expecting further seismic activity to intensify and cause more explosions at the Kilauea summit.

But the land is still highly unpredictable, and once the lava cools and hardens it will leave behind a jagged, scorched landscape with razor-sharp shards of volcanic rock.

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.

"Rainfall really makes a difference", said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.

Many homeowners are unable to access their homes as the lava damaged the properties.

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