Spreading lava flows from several fissures of the Hawaii volcano are being continually mapped by United States Geological Survey (USGS) as scorching rivers of molten rock swell in size.
Lava from fissure 8 continues to be a major concern as it channels along the south-east end of Big Island, turning into a corrosive cloud of hydrochloric acid and small glass particles as it hits the sea.
USGS has captured dramatic explosions called tephra jets beneath the thick plumes rising from the side of the ocean in what was formerly known as Kapoho Bay.
Now devoured by lava, Kapoho Bay was once a scenic hotspot for tide pools, picnics and snorkeling, according to Hawaii News Now.
USGS says: “When waves splash onto molten lava, they ‘explode’ in a cloud of steam, hot water, and tephra (molten splatter) called a ‘tephra jet’ as captured during this helicopter overflight of the ocean entry in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone, on June 11, 2018, around 12:30 PM.”
Tephra includes “any type and size of rock fragment that is forcibly ejected from the volcano and travels an airborne path during an eruption.”
Tephra can include ash and scoria, which is essentially ejected molten that has been thrown up by escaping gasses.
The volcano, on Big Island, has been erupting since May 3, with more than 2,500 people so far evacuated from the region.
A spokesman for Hawaii Volcano Observatory said: “Venturing too close to an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris from a sudden explosive interaction between lava and water.
“Also, the lava delta is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand.
“This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea.
“Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates “laze”, a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.”