The beautiful beach is now a pile of molten rock.
It’s been more than a month since the Kilauea volcano erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island, leading to evacuations, acid rain, and widespread devastation. Now, a new YouTube video taken by the U.S. Geological Survey on the morning of June 14 is revealing just how much the lava is changing Hawaii’s landscape.
The video focuses on the Big Island’s coastline, where the encroaching lava spilling from Fissure 8 has turned the beach into a pile of molten rock and waste. The affected shoreline is about a mile long.
The U.S. Geological Survey also reported seeing small explosions from when the lava hit the ocean water, and there were also several plumes of laze. Laze, or lava haze, is hydrochloric acid mist formed by the action of lava on seawater.
In a second video, the USGS reported that there was a second explosion at Kilauea’s summit on the morning of June 14, around 3 a.m. Hawaii time, which produced a plume that rose to 6,ooo feet above sea level. The explosion, as well as some precursory earthquakes, were felt around the area.
While the volcano is still active, with the walls and floor of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater (located within the summit caldera of Kilauea) collapsing, there is some good news. Sulfur dioxide emissions from the summit have dropped to about half of what they were a couple of weeks ago.
There have been no reported fatalities from Kilauea’s eruption so far. There was one reported injury when a homeowner was struck with lava and suffered burns and a broken leg. More than 2,000 local residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, and many communities have suffered from power outages, as Big Island Now reports.
Additionally, more than 600 homes have been burned down by the lava, and the monthlong eruption led to a loss of forest habitat for wildlife and native birds like the Hawaiian honeycreeper, as per USA Today. Hawaii Governor David Ige recently signed a Letter of Agreement releasing $12 million to support the county’s response to the active volcanic eruption.
If you want to keep an eye on Kilauea, you can watch the US Geological Survey’s 24/7 livestream of the volcano.