Hawaiian Volcano 

Photo Information

Steam plume and lava entering ocean
Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on January 28, 1998.

Sea water temperatures near entry points can be unpredictable. A thin layer of surface water near the entry ranges from 38-69°C (100-156°F). For perspective, a 42°C bathtub is too hot for most people to climb into (scald-free faucets are calibrated to 46C°), and coffee between 60 and 65°C has been known to scald the skin. The tremendous volume of hot water carried by waves large enough to crash ashore and catch visitors unaware can cause severe burns.

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How Hawaiian Volcanoes Work

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Updated: 20 May 1998