Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Creates Rare and Dramatic Show
[Lava from Hawaii's longest erupting volcano on the Big Island is creating a rare and dramatic combination of steam and waves that could potentially bring thrill-seeking visitors if it continues, officials said on Tuesday. Kilauea Volcano, which has been erupting from its Pu'u O'o vent since 1983, began pouring into the Pacific on Saturday, Reuters reported.
According to U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory spokeswoman Janet Babb, the flow from the volcano was the first to reach the ocean since last December.
Jim Kauahikaua, the lead scientist at the observatory, told Hawaii News Now on Sunday, [It appears more lava has been able to get our of Pu'u O'o into these lava flows and push them towards the ocean. Before that, it was sort of stop and go heading down the coastal flank, and it took the flows a long time to reach the ocean yesterday].
The natural occurrence, while spectacular to visit and see, could be very dangerous, Babb warned. Once lava reaches the ocean, it cools and hardens into a lava delta that is unstable and can collapse, Reuters stated. Babb said that when the lava delta collapses, it could injure visitors standing 100 years (meters) away.
[The molten lava meeting the ocean creates steam which may look innocuous, but can be quite hazardous,] the spokeswoman said. [It's acidic and contains tiny particles of volcanic glass. And waves crashing with the lava can send out scalding water]. – Nicole Rojas
Photos: Waves crash over lava as it flows into the ocean near Volcanoes National Park in Kalapana, Hawaii on November 27, 2012. A volcano on Hawaii's largest island is spilling lava into the ocean, creating a rare and spectacular fusion of steam and waves that officials said on Tuesday could attract thrill seeking visitors if it continues. (Photos by Hugh Gentry/Reuters)