Dramatic Images and Video Show Lava Flow from Hawaiian Volcano

Camille Francis
February 2, 2017

Thermal imaging shows the lava stream and the hot crack.

The US Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has been keeping tabs on the lava leak, while Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has set up a distant but safe viewing area-indicated by the yellow arrow in the photo to the left-for the spectacle.

The lava was filmed gushing through a crack in a sea cliff into the Pacific Ocean.

The stream of lava, about 2 yards wide, triggered pulsating explosions with chunks of molten rock and debris flying high into the air.

The volcano was formed between 300,000 and 600,000 years ago.

It's recently begin to flow from the lava tube as a 'single large spout, ' causing pulsating blasts of molten fragments.

'Some of these incandescent clasts fell on top of the sea cliff behind the ocean entry, forming a small spatter cone.

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"During one exceptionally large burst, spatter was thrown about twice the height of the sea cliff", the USGS stated.

It also warned that the littoral explosions are creating hazardous conditions on both land and sea. Scientists say the entire face of the cliff remains highly unstable and could collapse into the ocean again.

But they faced serious security concerns because the ground was so unstable.

"This crack could be a precursor to collapse of an unstable section fo the sea cliff, making the site extremely unsafe for anyone who ventures too closely to the ocean entry by land or by sea", the USGS explains.

It's thought that the molten lava started pouring out of the crack on January 28 and has been continuously flowing into the ocean ever since.

The crack could be a sign that the sea cliff could eventually tumble into the ocean beneath.

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