Ash clouds from Kilauea volcano prompt red alert on Hawaii's Big Island

Before-and-After Satellite Images Show Damage Caused By Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

The Hawaii volcano has been nearly continuously erupting for more than 35 years but recent quake activity has destroyed the crater floor, spewing toxic gas and lava out into the region of Puna.

Kilauea's ash cloud prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to raise the alert level for aviation to red due to risks ash could blow into aircraft routes and damage jet engines.

The National Weather Service warned: Persons with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling the ash particles and all persons outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth. Well, you can see for yourself in the photo above.

Since the Kilauea volcano erupted May 3, it's been one nightmare after another for residents in the southeast part of the Big Island. And it could send ash plumes as far as 12 miles from the summit crater, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

But it will be hard to warn residents who may be in the path of such an eruption.

Shocking images of lava spilling onto roads and 20 fissures expanding in the earth emerged as reports of toxic gas forced residents from their homes.

Before-and-After Satellite Images Show Damage Caused By Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano
Ash cloud from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano sparks red alert for aircraft

Authorities on Tuesday announced the 20 fissure had opened in the Lanipuna Gardens subdivision adjacent to Leilani Estates.

Almost 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago. The plant brings steam and hot liquid up through underground wells and the steam feeds a turbine generator to produce electricity.

People climb trees on the Volcano Golf and Country Club's 18th hole on Tuesday to view the plumes of smoke coming from the Halemaumau Vent of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. He noted that cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million.

Cruise ships have opted not to make port calls and Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau says it's beginning to impact tourism arrivals.

While the volcanic activity has led to dozens of minor earthquakes, officials - including Hawaii Governor David Ige - have moved to reassure the public following speculation about a potential tsunami.

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