This Footage of Lava Entering the Ocean Looks Mesmerizing and Terrifying at the Same Time

Lava is still pouring into the ocean off Hawaii’s Big Island after the Kilauea volcano eruption last month.
Jessica Miley

This stunning video from The US Geological Survey captures all the insanity of molten lava pouring into the ocean after the eruption of Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island a month ago. The footage clearly shows how the lava is producing something called “laze” which is a combination of steam, toxic gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass.

The footage captures the flow after it has already been going strong for seven hours. As the lava enters the cool ocean a new delta is forming in Kapoho Bay, the actual boundaries of the island are transforming as they film.

While the scene may look incredibly beautiful, laze, a combination of the words haze and lava is potentially very dangerous. When the super hot lava hits the ocean it produces a chemical reaction that produces a blend of hydrochloric acid, steam, and tiny particles of glass.

The resulting clouds can cause serious problems for people close enough to inhale. Unlucky spectators may suffer lung damage, eye irritation and in some cases even death.

Luckily, people living close to the earthquake have been evacuated. More than 2,500 residents from the area have had to leave with more than 300 seeking refuge in nearby community centers.