Lava Laze of Kilauea

 

Watch this spectacular USGS video showing lava laze formed by the lava of Kilauea volcano flowing into ocean at Kapoho bay on June 4, 2018.

The lava is from Kilauea Volcano’s lower east Rift Zone entering the ocean. The ocean entry is about a half-mile wide. The flow sends a large laze plume into the air along the coast.

 

What is lava laze?

When the lava flow goes into the ocean water, it boils the water and creates a white acidic plume. That’s laze.

“It’s a complex chemical reaction that occurs between the lava flow and seawater,” said Wendy Stovall, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It creates a mixture of condensed acidic steam, hydrochloric acid gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass.”

From the air, the plume looks like exhaust from a factory or the white smoke released during a forest fire.

If you’re underneath the plume, a light sprinkle of rain as corrosive as battery acid can fall on you. The acid can burn your skin, irritate your eyes and make it difficult to breathe. In rare cases, the damage can be permanent.

Source: LA Times article by Heidi Chang

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