The flow is still very active and there’s no way to know when the eruption will end.
UNITED STATES.-Lava from the Kilauea volcano that flowed into Kapoho Bay has created nearly a mile of new land and officials with the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday the flow is still very active and there’s no way to know when the eruption will end or if more lava-spewing vents will open.
The fast-moving lava poured into the low-laying coastal Hawaii neighborhoods in just two days this week, destroying hundreds of homes.
“Lava continues to enter the ocean along a broad front in Kapoho Bay and the Vacationland area and it continues to creep north of what remains of Kapoho Beach Lots,” said USGS geologist Janet Babb.
As the lava marched toward the bay, it vaporized Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake, which was hundreds of feet deep in some places. The new land in Kapoho Bay is now owned by the state, but the peninsula won’t look like the far- mland that dominates that region of the Big Island anytime soon.
Depending on climate, rainfall and other variables, new vegetation could start growing soon, but it would take much longer for the fertile land and lush rainforests to build back up.
“How soon vegetation comes back on a lava flow really depends on the type of lava it is, and how much rainfall there is in the area,” said Babb.“There are flows on the Kona side of the island that are much older than some flows on east Hawaii, they are much older but they have far less vegetation and that’s just a reflection of the difference in rainfall.”
A small ohia tree was observed by a National Park Service employee during of a tour of a two- year-old inactive flow in Kalapana last week. “Rainfall really makes a difference,” said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane. “A lot of ferns will pop up first. So, it’s usually ohia and ferns that are the first pioneers of those new lava flows.”
But the land is still highly unpredictable, and once the lava cools and hardens it will leave behind a jagged, scorched landscape with razor-sharp shards of volcanic rock.