Lava flowing into ocean quite a show, but officials urge caution

Published: Jul. 28, 2016 at 12:34 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 29, 2016 at 9:41 AM HST
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KILAUEA VOLCANO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The lava flow from Kilaue'a Pu'u O'o Crater spilling over a cliff into the ocean has drawn many spectators to view the picturesque scene.

But the U.S. Geological Survey is strongly cautioning visitors about some of the safety risks.

The USGS said the lava event will result in flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water. In addition, the acidic plume contains fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.

The new land created may be unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand, which can easily be eroded by surf.

The warning comes as new aerial video shows spectators getting very close to lava and to the cliff's edge, beyond rope meant to keep them at a safe distance.

In 2005, a 44-acre lava bench collapsed into the ocean. And in 2008, a big chunk fell into the ocean, triggering a giant explosion.

The lava flow, which started May 24, traveled over the Pulama Pali and into the ocean on Tuesday morning, the first time lava entered the ocean since 2013.

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