HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK – The day after a 98 ft. by 16 ft. block of lava broke from the cliff and plummeted into the sea next to the Kamokuna ocean entry – as officials warned it would – tourists are still hiking in too close to the volcanic activity.
The fascinating lava “firehose” has been attracting world wide attention as of late. The lava has been pouring into the ocean inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, part of the 61g flow erupting from a vent near Puʻu ʻŌʻō miles away.
The firehose activity began shortly after a 26-acre delta collapse at the ocean entry on New Year Eve.
Recently, a hot crack on the cliff behind the firehose had been growing wider. Officials warned another collapse was likely.
The National Park Service established a viewing area a safe distance away, and rangers have been trying to keep people from getting too close. It didn’t prevent some visitors from putting themselves in danger, however.
On Thursday the predicted collapse finally occurred, without injury.
On Friday, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recapped.
“Yesterday afternoon,” the USGS wrote, “HVO scientists revisited the hot crack about 5-10 m (16-33 ft) inland and east of the Kamokuna ocean entry at noon and found that it was wider and steaming; the lava ‘firehose’ was not visible although lava appeared to be entering the ocean. At about 12:55 p.m., a 30 m by 5 m (98 ft by 16 ft) portion of the block seaward of the crack fell into the ocean generating a noticeable, but not unusually large, wave propagating outward from the rockfall location. The crack was additionally widened by the collapse and was 100 cm (3.3 ft) wide after the collapse, an increase of 25 cm (10 in) in the past day Around 4 pm, another collapse occurred but we have not verified yet what remains of the seaward block.”
On Friday, another video of visitors putting themselves in danger surfaced.
John Tarson of Epic Lava Tours shared the above video. Tarson can be heard arguing with another visitor who didn’t appreciate the tour guide recording the people who had hiked out into the danger zone, to the very edge of the cliff overlooking the lava ocean entry. Tarson says the visitor with whom he was arguing was also in the area marked off-limits, and had allegedly set an alarm scheduled to go off at the time he presumed the rangers would check in.
Tarson, who had nothing to do with the hikers, said the situation illustrates the need for an around-the-clock enforcement presence at the viewing area.