Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released a video of lava oozing from the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The footage shows what is being called a remarkable volcanic “firehose” in action as it produces ash and steam into the air, creating “hazardous conditions on land and at sea.”
According to the USGS, the massive lava stream is roughly two meters wide and has been pouring directly into the Kamokuna ocean entry.
“At Kilauea’s ocean entry on Jan. 28 and 29, the interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater caused pulsating littoral explosions that threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) high into the air. Some of these incandescent clasts fell on top of the sea cliff behind the ocean entry, forming a small spatter cone. During one exceptionally large burst, spatter was thrown about twice the height of the sea cliff. These ocean entry littoral explosions, both large and small, create hazardous conditions on land and at sea,” the USGS said while describing the lava flow in its report.
After geologists discovered a hot ground crack in the sea cliff overhead, they revealed that the site was extremely unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. However, a team went close to the lava for further investigation on Jan. 28 wearing protective gear. During this probe, the team found that the eastern end of the crack is roughly 11.8 inches wide, and “deeply cut into recent lava atop the older sea cliff,” said the USGS.
Kilauea’s ongoing Pu?u ?O?o Eruption began in 1983 and is “the most voluminous outpouring of lava from the volcano’s East Rift Zone in the past five centuries,” according to the USGS. [/restrict]