Kilauea Volcano: Fissure 8 Reaches New Heights and Spawns Giant Lava Balls
The Kilauea volcano continues to create new problems as lava spreads across parts of Hawaii’s Big Island. Among the volcano’s many active cracks and lava streams, Fissure 8 not only continues to release waves of rapidly moving lava, but it has become even more dangerous thanks to heightened ranges of splatter and lava balls that continue to fly into the air.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) provided an update on the Kilauea volcano Saturday. Fountains of lava shot into the air from Fissure 8, reaching as high as 180 feet. The molten rock flowing from the fissure created small, intermittent overflows that only lasted for a short period of time. As is the case with the Kilauea volcano, new formations and objects appear due to lava cooling, hence the appearance of the accretionary lava ball.
Accretionary lava balls are different from the lava boats reported by the agency last week. While the lava flows, parts of it can cool and begin to harden. This cooled ball can rise on top of the lava flow and roll around. As it rolls, lava begins sticking to it and increases its size, similar to rolling a ball of snow on the ground. The result is a large ball of molten rock that has a spiral structure inside that can range in size from a few inches to larger than 10 feet.
Since it erupted back on May 3, the Kilauea volcano has created a mess of problems for people in the region. Lava already destroyed hundreds of homes, causing thousands to evacuate. Earthquakes measuring 5.3-magnitude shook the summit of the volcano last week. On top of that, when the lava makes its way to the ocean, it sends shards of volcanic glass into the air as it quickly cools.
Scientists said it’s unknown when the Kilauea volcano will stop erupting.
As the volcanic activity creates new land with the lava cooling, the USGS warns people to stay away, as this “land” is not stable, especially near the ocean, and could be easily eroded by the surf causing serious injuries.