Lava from Hawaii volcano reaches sea

Lava from the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has reached the sea but is still threatening homes. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the action are being warned not to disturb area residents.

Although the lava flow was able to push up and over a slope to the sea, lava is still flowing along the ridge to the coastal plane near homes in Kalapana. Over the past 24 hours, the lava has advanced 425 feet toward Kalapana Gardens. According to the United States Geological Survey, “A nearly continuously active flow front is creeping into a remaining and topographically low kipuka at the western edge of the subpision, causing small brush fires and methane explosions.” One home was destroyed over the weekend. Authorities warn that Kalapana Gardens is a private subpision and access is granted only to residents. The land along highway 130 is also private property. Hawaii County police are monitoring the area. There are also minor scattered flows to the west and upslope of the Highway 137 flow.

Lava is continuing to enter the ocean, but the USGS estimates that less lava is headed that direction than is flowing toward the residential area. Earlier estimates had been that once the lava was able to make its way to the sea, the amount flowing towards homes would decrease. That appears not to have happened, at least not yet.

By late Monday, lava had created a small delta in the sea, which is growing as more lava flows onto it from the sea cliff.

Kilauea is an active volcano, with quiet periods and times of increased activity. This update and photos are provided by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher