After destroying dozens of houses, lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has now reached the ocean.
The lava pouring into the ocean presents a new health threat to Hawaii residents. When the super hot lava hits the cooler sea water, it produces what is called “laze,” hydrochloric acid steam that pours into the air along with fine particles of glass.
“Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation,” the Civil Defense Agency warned in a message to residents. “Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.”
Because of lava entering the ocean, the US Coast Guard enforced a Lava Entry Safety Zone Sunday for the navigable waters around the Kilauea Volcano. A Coast Guard news release says the safety zone includes all waters extending about 300 meters around the entry of the lava flow.
“All waterway users should be aware of the hazardous conditions associated with such an event. Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon, waterways management lead for the Coast Guard’s Honolulu sector.
More than 20 fissures have opened since the volcano’s latest activity began May 3.