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Lava from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Oozes Into Pacific Ocean

Jul 29, 2016 09:08 AM EDT
Kilauea Volcano's Eruptions Grow Larger
HAWAII - JUNE 6: Lava pours into the ocean from Kilauea Volcano on June 6, 2004 at Volcanoes National Park near Volcano, Hawaii. Lava from Kilauea has reached the ocean for the first time in nearly a year.

(Photo : Photo by Marco Garcia/Getty Images)

For the first time since 2013, lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano has made its way to the Pacific Ocean. The 6.5 mile lava has been dribbling over Kilauea's south flank since May, and it has made its way into the ocean Tuesday morning.

In a report by the US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS), the lava flow is approximately 66 feet (20 meters) wide. The flow has spilled over from the cliff and into the ocean. Plumes of steam have been reported, which has attracted tourists and locals alike.

"There's been people calling for a month now, trying to get in the boat," stated Kanoa Jones, local welder and mechanic. He's taken a leave of absence from work to run boat tours. "Sometimes, if the lava's flowing heavy when it hits the water it could explode, but usually it's really mellow."

For those wishing to see a closer view of the flow, a tough hike lies ahead. However, USGS has issued a warning regarding possible accidents that could occur if within close proximity to the lava flow. Aside from acid fumes, jets of hot lava, and collapsing ledges, USGS warns of the risk of heat stroke and other injuries.

"There are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs," stated USGS, adding, "Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water."

Since 1983, Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano has been active. This is said to be the first time in three years that the lava flow has made its way to the ocean. Back in June 2014, lava had flowed through the village of Pahoa, which had forced residents to evacuate. So far, the current lava flow has no threat to nearby communities.

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