Kamokuna Lava Delta Collapse Also Takes Part of Old Sea Cliff

The rocky shelf at the base of the sea cliff is all that remains of the Kamokuna lava delta following the New Year’s Eve collapse (Dec. 31, 2016), which sent acres of rock plunging into the sea.

The exposed lava tube continued to feed a cascade of molten rock down the steep sea cliff, beginning the process of building another lava delta at the ocean entry, as this photo was taken on Jan. 1, 2017.

When the lava delta collapsed, solid and molten fragments of lava and superheated steam exploded skyward, creating tremendous hazard for anyone who ignored the warning signs and entered the closed area on land or ventured too close to the lava delta by boat.

This map shows the coastline at the Kamokuna lava entry on Kīlauea Volcano, with labels denoting areas impacted by the large, progressive lava-delta collapse on December 31, 2016. Nearly all the Kamokuna lava delta collapsed into the sea, along with a large section of the older sea cliff east of the delta. The red line denotes the current (post-collapse) sea cliff; the land seaward of this line collapsed into the ocean. The blue line refers to the rope line that marks the boundary of the area closed by the National Park Service; a section of this rope line was taken out by the collapse on Saturday. These mapped lines, based on handheld GPS points captured on January 1, 2017, are preliminary and subject to change (HVO geologists are in the field again today). For up-to-date information about access to the new ocean entry viewing area, please consult the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Hawaiʻi County websites.

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