This is what happens when some of the newest land on Earth suddenly splits off and falls into to the ocean.
Volcano watchers Steven and Donna O’Meara were at the Puna coastline last week when at least 3 large benches of freshly hardened lava collapsed into the Pacific.
The collapses occurred over four hours on Thursday night, while large volumes of magma flowed through underground lava tubes into the ocean.
The O’Meara’s photo captures the explosive results of one of these collapses. Massive volumes of hot magma met chilly ocean water, throwing rocks up to 60 feet away.
Geologists at Kilauea volcano summit’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported this morning that ocean entry of lava through the tube systems was vigorous. The lava is from Kilauea’s long-erupting Pu‘u O‘o vent six miles upslope, which has been churning out more magma than usual in recent weeks.
Said Steven O’Meara, in a morning e-mail, before leaving to shoot more photos today: “You can not believe what the eruption is doing. Even we are in absolute amazement! Will send images as we get them.”
Can’t wait to see ‘em, Steven.