HONOLULU (AP) — A dramatic “firehose” stream of molten lava continued to shoot out of a sea cliff Wednesday on Hawaii Island, splashing into the Pacific Ocean below and exploding upon impact.
The massive Kilauea flow is coming from a lava tube at the Kamokuna ocean entry on the southeast side of the Big Island. The lava is gushing from a tube that was exposed when a huge, 26-acre lava delta collapsed into the ocean at the site on New Year’s Eve. The collapse of the newly formed land triggered massive explosions and giant waves in the area.
The lava stream, dubbed a “firehose” flow because it shoots lava outward from the source, started out as a drizzle coming down the sea cliffs after the New Year collapse, but has recently increased in intensity. The molten lava is now arching out and falling about 70 feet to the ocean below.
Hawaii lava flow
When the molten lava hits the cool seawater, it reacts, causing explosions that can throw large chunks of hot rock and debris inland, where people hike in to see the lava, and seaward, where tour boats cruise the shoreline.
One of the biggest concerns is a large “hot crack” above the lava tube. The crack runs parallel to the sea cliff and makes the land susceptible to collapse, said USGS geologist Janet Babb.
The National Park Service has restricted the areas that people can go to view the flow.