The photographs are incredible!
Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, began erupting in late May and slowly crept towards the coast until it finally entered the Pacific Ocean early Tuesday morning. This is the first time the flow has hit the ocean since 2013.
Kilauea, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii, has been erupting nearly continuously for more than three decades. In fact, its name means “spewing” or “much spreading” in the Hawaiian language, referring to its oozing lava.
When the hot lava from Kilauea meets the ocean, after flowing over a steep cliff, it causes the cool sea water to boil and creates new land at the ocean’s edge.
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The US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory explains, “the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea.”
They also warn that the mix of lava and seawater creates a rising acidic plume mixed with fine volcanic particles that could be harmful to onlookers hiking nearby.
The lava flow does not pose any immediate threat to nearby communities.
The flow front, a short time before lava reached the ocean. Credit: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Close-up view of the ocean entry with multiple small fingers of lava spilling over the cliff. Credit: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
The lava flow front. Credit: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
The lake in Halema'uma'u Crater. Credit: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
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