Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Update: USGS Map Shows Lava Closing In on Boat Ramp

isaac hale boat ramp hawaii
The Hawaii County Fire Department captured this image of Isaac Hale Park and boat ramp during their flight over the area late in the afternoon on July 24. The lava from Kilauea is slowing creeping in the direction of the boat ramp. USGS

The lava coming from Hawaii's Kilauea has traveled across acres of the island to its edge, where it entered the ocean and spilled over the island's edge to form new land.

The lava was taking up much of the coastline and has slowly been making its way to the Pohoiki boat ramp in Isaac Hale Park. As of Tuesday evening, the lava flow was less than a tenth of a mile from the boat ramp, according to the United States Geological Survey.

As the volcano's activity has continued, more and more lava has spilled out of fissures and crossed the island. With each collapse event at the caldera of the volcano, more lava is pushed out to the fissures across the island, mainly Fissure 8.

Earthquakes caused by those collapses were still shaking the island, said a Wednesday-morning update from Hawaii Civil Defense. Lava was also still erupting from Fissure 8 and flowing into the channel, or river, of lava that was entering the ocean.

When the lava first reached the water's edge, it entered the ocean at Kapoho Bay. The lava quickly filled the entire bay and then extended the coastline out into the water. Roughly 700 acres of lava-land have been added to the island since the eruption began. The lava was also extending westward as "ooze outs" occurred along the flow of the fissure where the lava breached the edges of the flow.

active ocean entry map
A map of the east rift zone of the Hawaii Kilauea volcano. The bright red on the map shows where there was active lava flowing as of 10 a.m. HST on July 24. USGS

The message from Civil Defense asked motorists to stay on the pavement of the highway and to be aware of the conditions on the roads and how quickly they can change. The ocean entry point was producing a "laze" plume, also known as a lava haze plume, that caused steam with hydrochloric acid to enter the air. That plume could easily change directions with the wind and is damaging to the skin, throat and lungs.

In addition to the potentially dangerous laze plume, there was also the risk of volcanic products like Pele's hair, a volcanic glass, falling after the eruptions. The volcanic glass and ash was falling downwind of the eruptions and summit and had the potential to cause irritation to the lungs and skin. The volcanic byproducts that also included the harmful gas sulfur dioxide could also contaminate water sources and could cause acid rain to fall on the island.

Residents have been dealing with these conditions for nearly three weeks now, and there is no way to know when the volcano's activity may slow.