COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY,
HAWAIIAN VOLCANOES OBSERVATORY
Lava from Kilauea Volcano was visible Aug. 5 flowing into the Pacific Ocean at East Kailiili.
Kilauea lava flowing into new spot
Land is building at an ocean entry point that formed Aug. 3
Lava has started flowing from Kilauea Volcano into the Pacific Ocean from a new entry point, building more Big Island land.
Video taken Thursday shows molten liquid slithering down cliffs and oozing into the sea, unleashing clouds of steam as the lava hits the ocean.
The current Kilauea eruption has been attracting tourists, local residents and volcanologists for 23 years.
Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the 2,000-degree Fahrenheit lava boils the sea water on contact.
Once the lava hits the ocean, it turns into sandlike chunks that form a base for new land.
Similar eruptions over several million years gave birth to all the Hawaiian islands.
The latest Kilauea ocean entry point developed the night of Aug. 3 when lava from the Campout flow hit the sea at East Kailiili, Kauahikaua said. In the week since, the flow has built a new base at the edge of the cliff where the lava falls into the sea, Kauahikaua said.
"That's all new land," he said.
He said the new entry point was unrelated to the collapse late last month of a 5- to 10-acre lava bench at East Laeapuki, the spot of another entry point. Lava has been feeding into the ocean at this point fairly consistently since May 2005.
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes, having erupted 34 times since 1952. Since January 1983 it has continuously had eruption-related activity along its eastern rift.