Two fissures that opened up in a rural Hawaii community have merged to produce faster and more fluid lava.

Scientists say the characteristics of lava oozing from fissures in the ground has changed significantly as new magma mixes with decades-old stored lava.

Before yesterday, lava was just spattering up and collecting at the edges of the fissures.

Yesterday, the flow ramped up and crossed a road. Today, it was 2.4km from the ocean and advancing at a rate of 274m per hour.


Lava has been oozing out of fissures in Big Island neighbourhoods for two weeks, claiming at least 44 structures.

Kilauea volcano is also affecting other neighbouring areas because of ash that has been spewing out during explosions at the summit.

Three people stuck in a rural neighbourhood where lava is flowing have made it out. Emergency workers had planned to rescue them by helicopter today. Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder says two got out on their own and one was evacuated by air.

A short-lived eruption spewed out an ash cloud from Kilauea volcano's summit that reached as high as 2133m.

- AP