Hawaii Lava Splashes into the Sea

Lava from Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park enters the Pacific Ocean at dawn on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005, in Volcano, Hawaii. (Image credit: AP Photo/David Jordan.)

Earlier this week, the Kilauea volcano began dripping molten rock into the Pacific at two new sites in Hawaii National Park.

One of the new spots is about a mile and a half from a ranger station. Park visitors are being treated to a spectacle as the flows, at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, occasionally explode when they contact the cool ocean waters.

The steam that boils off the red-hot lava is acidic and not safe to breath.

The lava travels about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the crater to the shore. Kilauea has been erupting on and off since Jan. 3, 1983. It covered over the town of Kalapana in 1990 and has repaved about 8 miles of former highway.

The lava has also added more than 495 acres to the island's southern shore.

The Hawaii National Park is also home to the 13,677-foot high Mauna Loa, the world's largest volcano.

Michael Schirber
Michael Schirber began writing for LiveScience in 2004 when both he and the site were just getting started. He's covered a wide range of topics for LiveScience from the origin of life to the physics of Nascar driving, and he authored a long series of articles about environmental technology. Over the years, he has also written for Science, Physics World, andNew Scientist. More details on his website.