Lava from the Kilauea eruption is redefining the coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii. As it falls into the ocean, the molten rock’s extreme temperature is causing the water to explode when it’s rapidly converted into steam.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded these explosions Monday during a helicopter flight over the lava entry point.
“When waves splash onto molten lava, they ‘explode’ in a cloud of steam, hot water and tephra (molten splatter) called a ‘tephra jet,’ ” the USGS said on Facebook.
The active lava entry zone is a new coastline on the east side of the Big Island. Last week, lava from the fissures filled Kapoho Bay.
“Just a few days ago Kapoho Bay was a beautiful vacation destination, filled with vacation homes, beautiful beaches and clear water,” Forbes said last week. “Today, the bay is filled with a lava field that extends 0.8 miles from the old bay, completely reshaping the coastline of Hawaii.”