A Piece Of Hawaii Just Fell Into The Sea And Exploded

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Its hard not to love Hawaii. Its main island, comprised of five of the largest volcanoes on Earth, has been erupting some of the worlds hottest lava continuously since 1983. Kilauea, the most active, has a spectacular lava lake that sometimes overflows, and constantly spews out fiery streams that dramatically drain into the Pacific Ocean.

Sometimes, these lava flows are so extensive that they solidify and form deltas out to sea as new bits of Hawaiian land. Kamokuna, one of these deltas, decided to collapse into the ocean on New Years Eve in a rather spectacular fashion.

The cooling but still extremely hot lava flows there sank beneath the waves simultaneously. This released a lot of steam, which caused a fair few glorious explosions. Large, highly acidic ash plumes quickly rose from the pandemonium, and air travel in the region was shut down temporarily as a safety measure.

The morning after. Big Island Video News via YouTube

Moving at around walking pace, these flows average at temperatures of around 1,100C (2,010F). When cooling slowly, they tend to form stringy pahoehoe deposits. If they cool more rapidly or build up on top of each other, they freeze into crumbly, jagged lumps called aa. Both types were present at the delta before its collapse.

Powered by an upwelling, wonky plume of superheated mantle material, Kilauea is the current center of volcanism on Hawaii. However, the youngest volcanic feature is an underwater baby volcano called Loihi. This seamount is slowly effusing lava, and will rise from the sea as a new island around 10,000 to 100,000 years from now.

The beautiful Big Island of the State of Hawaii. NOAA

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/piece-hawaii-fell-sea-exploded/

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