Cliff Collapses At Hawaii Lava Ocean Entry Point

Posted: Feb 4 2017, 2:29am CST | by , Updated: Feb 4 2017, 2:39am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Cliff Collapses at Hawaii Volcano Lava Ocean Entry Point
A huge section of the sea cliff crashes into the ocean. Credit: USGS

Camera captures the stunning moment an entire section of sea cliff drops into the ocean

Following several days of lava outpouring, an entire section of cliff above the ocean entry point breaks off and collapses into the ocean. The moment was captured by a video camera set up to monitor lava flow and it looks like someone is slicing up a piece from chocolate sponge cake.

The sea cliff has become increasingly unstable as a massive crack has grown on it after Thursday’s collapse. The incident, however, brought to an end the strong stream of lava known as “lavahose” that has been flowing into the ocean over the past few days.

“When they arrived, the "firehose" flow was no longer visible. However, spatter (bits of molten lava) and black sand flying through the steam plume indicated that lava was still flowing into the ocean and interacting explosively with seawater.” Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) website said.

One of the most active volcanoes on the planet, Kilauea volcano has been erupting frequently since last year. As Kilauea erupts, it sends red hot molten lava into the ocean, leading to visible changes on the site.

On New Year Eve, a huge, 26-acre lava delta crashed into the ocean, which has not formed again. It even dislodged the viewing area that has been used by visitors to view volcanic eruptions. A new public viewing area in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was created afterwards.

Since these collapses can happen at any time without warning, National Park Service is restricting the access of visitors to the lava flow area. But officials say that some people still crossed lines and ventured into dangerous areas. No injuries have reported so far. However, the site is still deemed dangerous to humans.

“This collapse yesterday did not diminish the hazards,” Janet Babb, one of the geologists with USGS Hawaii Volcano Observatory who were at the site to monitor the lava flow.

As long as lava continues to flow into the ocean, that area is still quite hazardous... there's still potential for collapses of the sea cliff there.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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