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Hazards Associated with the Kamokuna Ocean Entry an Ongoing Concern

People who venture too close to Kīlauea’s Kamokuna ocean entry—by land or by sea—are at risk from multiple hazards associated with lava flowing into the sea.

Hazards

The white plume formed by the interaction of lava and seawater is a corrosive mixture of super-heated steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny particles of volcanic glass, all of which should be avoided. Lava deltas (new land formed at the ocean entry) can collapse without warning. Should the lava delta shown here collapse, fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock would be thrown both inland and seaward, potentially impacting people on the cliff above the ocean entry and in the boat in front of the delta.

The beauty of Kīlauea Volcano’s eastern Kamokuna ocean entry can be enjoyed from a safe distance upwind of where lava flows into the sea.

hazards2The eastern entry site (shown here) has created a lava delta that is now about 5 acres in size; as this delta grows larger, so does the risk of a sudden collapse.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

Close-up view (using a zoom lens from a safe distance) of lava streaming into the sea at the eastern Kamokuna ocean entry on Kīlauea.

During a special media briefing today, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists (left) and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers (right) talked about the hazards associated with Kīlauea Volcano’s active lava flow and ocean entries, the exciting scientific opportunities posed by flow 61G, and how visitors can safely hike to and view the beauty of lava flowing on land and into the sea.

Hazards4

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