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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Formed a Mini Island Overnight

July 17, 2018
2 min read
Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Formed a Mini Island Overnight
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Hawaii might've just grew another island after the ongoing Kilauea Volcano eruption created a small block of land in the ocean.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crew discovered the tiny island during a morning flyover on Friday. This island is about 20 to 30 feet in diameter, so don't expect to be booking a vacation here any time soon. The miniature block of land formed Thursday just off the Big Island's northern edge, the United States Geological Survey said.

The agency suspects the lava is flowing from fissure 8, which erupted as late as May 5. Another reason could be from a submarine tumulus, which is essentially a push-up structure where the upward pressure of slow-moving molten lava pushes the overlying crust upward.

The braided lava channel extending from the fissure 8 vent (near top, center) and flowing toward the ocean. (via USGS)

"Whether this little thing is going to survive, my guess would be wave action will probably erode it down or new lava will come in and connect to it and grow out. The long-term implications aren’t terribly significant," Paul Segall, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University, said. "As lava is flowing into the ocean, it's forming new land, and this is just a step in that process."

Kilauea's continually eruptions since early May have destroyed dozens of homes in the Big Island's Puna district and has forced more than 1,700 people to evacuate their neighborhoods.

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