On Tuesday, for the first time in three years, a lava flow reached the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii, creating a mesmerizing site for visitors and tour groups:
The lava flow has been emanating from the Kilauea volcano inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since erupting on May 24. In the time since, it has been slowly crawling across the island, traveling 2 miles before reaching the ocean on Tuesday.
As shown in the above video taken by the Lava Ocean Tours outfit, the glowing ribbons of red-hot lava create plumes of steam as they greet the crystal blue waters of Hawaii.
That steam is the result of the lava rapidly cooling, and what you are watching is the creation of solid volcanic rock — or in other terms — new land being formed.
While it might be tempting to try to hike out to the ocean entry, officials with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are advising visitors to use extreme caution when doing so.
"Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water,” Jessica Ferracane, a spokesperson for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “New land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand.”
Kilauea has been actively erupting since 1983 and ranks among the most active volcanoes in the world, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
There is no way for officials to tell how long this ocean entry will last — as noted by the Star-Advertiser, the last ocean entry began in 2011 and continued on and off at different locations until 2013.
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