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The Explosive Reason Why Hawaii Island Is Rapidly Getting Bigger

Aug 09, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

With a total area of 10,432 km², there is still a chance that Hawaii will get bigger than its present size. And it's all because of the lava flow from the Kilauea volcano.

According to Volcano Discovery, Kilauea volcano is the most active volcano in HawaiI. It has been active since it was first recorded, and the Puʻu ʻŌʻō spatter cone in Kilauea's eastern rift zone has been having an uninterrupted eruption since 1983.

Gizmodo notes that just recently, records show that a new vent opened in the crater's eastern flank, prompting the lava to run down the southern side of Kilauea. This is the first time the lava has reached the ocean since 2013.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the lava flow has reached the Pacific.

A video capturing the moment the lava mixed with the salt water was uploaded by National Geographic. The footage was from photographer Warren Fintz.

What happens when lava reaches the ocean? As explained by the USGS, "Lava pouring into the ocean from either surface flows or lava tubes cools rapidly, usually shattering into sand- to block-size fragment." The phenomenon is called lava delta.

Update from the USGS said as of this time, small delta has already been formed and that in the past week, the flow extending to the water measures approximately 150 meters (492 feet) to 240 meters (787 feet).

Because this phenomenon is rare, tourists and other curious locals had been very interested to go near the area.

CNN had an interview with a local who runs lava boat tours.

"There's been people calling for a month now, trying to get in the boat," Kanoa Jones who is also a mechanic and welder told the news site.

"Sometimes, if the lava's flowing heavy when it hits the water it could explode, but usually it's really mellow," he added.

While there is no threat to communities nearby, USGS reminded everyone about taking safety measures when viewing the new ocean entry.

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