Volcanic Shelf Drops into Ocean

Provided By: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Provided By: Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

KILAUEA (KHNL) - An amazing sight captured on the island of Hawaii.

Sixteen acres of a lava shelf on the west side of Kilauea collapsed into the sea on Thursday.

The violent collapse lasted more than four hours, sending plumes of smoke more than a thousand feet into the air.

Dramatic aerial footage captured by Blue Hawaiian Helicopters show the delta breaking into the sea and the plumes of smoke.

It started just before three in the afternoon.  One by one, a slice of the delta slid into the ocean.

The violent interaction between the hot lava and cool ocean caused fist sized rocks to be blasted into the air.

Some of them landed more than 460 inland.  Scientists say it's surprising it didn't collapse sooner than this.

There has been no active lava in this area since mid march.

The largest delta collapse was back in 1995 when a landslide of 44 acres slid into the ocean.