KAPOHO, Hawaii Island (HawaiiNewsNow) - This week, HVO geologists measured temperatures and documented rock layers exposed as sections of Highway 132 are “ripped” by road crews.
Construction crews have been working to reopen the highway that was buried by lava from fissure 8 during the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption.
Researchers say, in places the rock is incredibly dense and has to be slowly broken apart.
This dense rock is interpreted by HVO geologists to be some of the last lava that erupted and solidified within the fissure 8 channel.
Geologist say, the drill bit used to hammer the rock into pieces, gets hot from the solidified lava, which is still at 752 degrees Fahrenheit, occasionally causing the bit to turn purple from the intense heat.
Once they are pried from the ground, the boulders lose most of their heat over the course of a day.
Officials are hoping to complete the road work by Oct. 5.
If they do meet that deadline, they’ll qualify for 100 percent federal reimbursement.