July 13, 2016
Hawaii's Kīlauea Volcano Burns Down Forest At Volcanoes National Park [Video]

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is sweeping slowly across the Hawaiian landscape, and as it does, it is burning a path of destruction through the Volcanoes National Park forest. Everything in the path of Hawaii's Kilauea lava flow is being ignited as the volcano continues to slowly release its thick lava to consume the area.

As The Washington Post reports, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is currently devouring all vegetation in the path of its over 2,000-degree lava, which is running down the slope of the world-famous volcano on its path to the sea. At least one photographer, Kawiki Singsong, hiked through the rugged terrain (fully seven miles) to capture amazing shots of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano recycling the landscape of Volcanoes National Park.

The Kilauea volcano produces two distinct kinds of lava. Kilauea's Pahoehoe lava has a smooth and relatively quick flow, and it frequently cools into almost fluffy-looking, billowy textures of newly formed, hardened rock. Hawaii's Kilauea volcano's other type of lava, 'a'a, doesn't so much flow as get carried along in the Pahoehoe flow emitting from the Kilauea volcano. It looks like giant glass shards and/or jagged volcanic rocks. It can even be heard making the distinct sound of clanking glass as it is drawn along the landscape.
The Hawaiian Volcano observatory commented on the dual forms of lava that can be recorded from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. The experts there explained the "how" and "why" of both of Hawaii's lava types.
"In an eruption with a high effusion rate — where a lot of lava is being discharged at once — `a`a flows tend to form. If the rate of effusion is low, a pahoehoe flow is more likely to develop."
When Singsong traveled the seven miles to Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, on foot and through the treacherous landscape of Volcanoes National Park, he was able to capture some unbelievable shots and video footage.
According to the local volcano observatory, as of Sunday, July 10, the current lava flow from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano was just around a half mile away from the Pacific Ocean. When it gets there, it will harden as it makes contact with the sea water, which is literally thousands of degrees cooler than the lava flowing from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, reports ABC 7. Presumably, the newly-formed rock will expand the surface area of the world's most remote island chain.

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been erupting continuously for decades. According to Popular Science, the volcano has been gently (and beautifully) erupting since back in 1983, pushing molten rock from the earth's mantle out onto the planet's surface.

In 2014, Kilauea's continuous eruption did damage to the small island village of Pāhoa. Just last year, Kilauea's lava lake overflowed, treating locals and tourists alike to an awe-inspiring view of the volcano's lava. The lava lake is situated near the summit of Hawaii's most active volcano, and that area is just one of two portions of Kilauea that are showing signs of active activity. The other is the East Rift Zone, where a stream of Kilauea's lava flows almost continuously from a location known as Puʻu ʻŌʻō. From there, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano's lava flows steadily toward the Pacific.

Because of the scope and nature of the volcanic activity at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, the USGS and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (affiliated with the USGS) has been constantly monitoring the volcanic hot spot for years.

The lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is very hot (it can reach temperatures over 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit), but it's also very slow-moving. Tourists can generally come see the majestic sight of the erupting volcano with relatively little risk, so long as they follow the rules and use basic common sense when in the area. According to scientists and government officials, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano doesn't currently pose a threat to communities in the area.

[Image via Shutterstock]