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Sea Cliff at Kamokuna Ocean Entry Collapses – “Firehose” Flow Was No Longer Visible

HVO geologists hiked to the Kamokuna ocean entry today to assess the status of the sea cliff. When they arrived, the “firehose” flow was no longer visible. However, spatter (bits of molten lava) and black sand flying through the steam plume indicated that lava was still flowing into the ocean and interacting explosively with seawater.

Just below the left side of the steam cloud, a small shelf of the Kamokuna lava delta that survived the New Year’s Eve collapse can be seen.

Within minutes of HVO geologists reaching the ocean entry site, the sea cliff seaward of the hot crack (see Jan. 30 images) collapsed with no warning; fortunately, they were far enough away to not be in harm’s way.

The top photo was snapped just before the collapse occurred. The bottom image shows the remaining sea cliff after the collapse. Yellow arrows point to the same rocks in both photos for comparison.

The entire section of the sea cliff that was seaward of the hot crack collapsed, except for a small block of rock (left) at the eastern end of the crack; this piece of the sea cliff, estimated to be 30 m long and 5 m wide (98 x 16 ft), remains highly unstable and could collapse with no warning. During the collapse, rocks hitting the ocean generated a wave that propagated outward from the coast.

After the collapse, no lava was visible, but is apparently still flowing into the sea based on the continuing steam plume and explosions of spatter.

Yesterday, grinding noises could be heard coming from the crack, and the block of sea cliff on the makai (ocean) side of the crack could be seen to move slightly.

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