The Kilauea eruption — by the numbers

Marking 30 days of ash clouds, earthquakes, lava bombs and evacuations, officials with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) this week released some key statistics about the continuing eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano.

Officials mark a full month since eruptions started with stats about the Hawaiian volcano

Lava erupts from a fissure in the Leilani Estates neighbourhood near Pahoa on the island of Hawaii, on May 24. (Grace Simoneau/FEMA via Associated Press)

Marking 30 days of ash clouds, earthquakes, lava bombs and evacuations, officials with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) this week released some key statistics about the continuing eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano. 

20 square kilometres 

That's how much territory — 0.2 per cent of Hawaii's Big Island — has been covered with lava since this cycle of eruptions started on May 3. Much of it flowed down the eastern slope, toward the ocean, destroying hundreds of homes along the way.

"It's a necessary evil," said resident Harry Pomerleau, who lost his home to lava. 

"It's not our land. It belongs to Pele," the Hawaiian volcano goddess, he said. "I have to imagine she knows what she's doing."

24 fissure vents 

Thousands of people had to evacuate from the area after the first fissure opened May 3. Many others have since appeared though. By Tuesday, fissure No. 8 was the only one still belching large volumes of molten rock.

While taking questions on Twitter, the USGS recently warned against trying to toast marshmallows over the vents which, among other hazards, spew noxious gases that officials said would ruin the taste. 

4 lava flows have reached the ocean

That's bad news for anyone who was especially fond of Kapoho Bay, a popular vacation spot on the island's easternmost tip, which was completely filled in thanks to a lava flow from fissure No. 8.

"It's incredibly saddening," Jason Hills, who made yearly visits to the bay, told a local CNN affiliate. "It was green and beautiful … and now it's just a big hunk of lava rock."

599 metres per hour

That's the top recorded speed of Kilauea lava during this eruption. Slow enough to easily outrun — outwalk, even — though three area residents had to be airlifted to safety over the weekend when the lava managed to surround them. 

Lava flows at a new fissure after eruptions on May 12.

76.2 metres 

Lava shooting into the air has reached this height, again from the overachieving fissure No. 8. 

Ash plume 9.1 kilometres high 

The tallest Kilauea ash plume has reached more than nine kilometres into the air. That explosion came on May 17, after two weeks of volcanic activity and was "a stunning turn for people who think of Kilauea as this very gentle volcano that just puts out lava flows," said Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the USGS. 

Another eruption on May 24, seen below, topped out at just over three kilometres. 

With files from The Associated Press