How lava builds new land that can
collapse--enjoy the show, but be aware of potential danger
Lava erupting from the Pu`u `O`o vent on the east rift
zone of Kilauea began entering the sea early on July 19 only 600
meters from the end of the Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park. A second lava flow covered the road
and entered the sea on July 21. The lava flows, arms of the
larger Mother?s Day flow, are rapidly adding new land
to the coast.
Since mid June, the Mother's Day lava flow has been
easily accessible and has provided safe, spectacular viewing conditions
for tens of thousands of park visitors. Now that lava is once again
spilling into the sea and building new land, however, viewing
has become more unpredictable and potentially dangerous for people.
New land built by lava can collapse into
the sea with little warning, sometimes resulting in
explosions that blast lava spatter and large rocks into the
air and send scalding water onshore.
Check out the following information to learn more about
how lava builds new land, how that land can collapse into the sea,
and what to be concerned about when viewing lava. With this
information, you should be able to watch the spectacular show
enjoyably and safely.