HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – Lava continues to pour into the ocean along the cliffs of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and scientists have noted growing cracks near the Kamokuna lava entry that hint of a growing danger of collapse.
Small collapses were reported by National Park Service staff earlier this week, reports the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. On Thursday, aerial observations of prominent cracks on the surface of the east delta suggest growing instability and thus an increased potential for larger collapse events, scientists reported.
The 61g lava flow extends southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s south flank. Activity is presently concentrated along the front of the east lava delta, while the west lava delta was completely inactive.
Today, the USGS repeated its warning to visitors visiting the ocean entry area:
As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff.