>> Lava flowing from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spilling into the Pacific Ocean posing a new threat to residents as clouds of acid fumes, steam, and hazardous glass-like particles fill the air. Reuters Correspondent Terray Sylvester is on the big island.>> To get a look at the lava flows entering the ocean, I boarded a boat and took an hour trip down the east side of the island.
I could see a white plume of steam and volcanic gas rising into the sky. It was actually hard to see the lava itself entering the ocean because there was so much steam pouring off of the shoreline there. But according to officials, it's definitely not just steam. It's actually a lava-haze, or laze, as it's nicknamed around here.
When the lava contacts the ocean water, it creates a potent mixture of hydrochloric acid fumes and tiny glass particles, which are suspended in the steam. Officials have warned that the laze does pose health hazards to people living in the area. It was like being in a sauna, except maybe a sauna tinged with sulfur fumes.
ere were small explosions as well. Every now and then, some of the lava would detonate into golf ball-sized chunks of lava. And those would go arching out over the water, leaving trails of smoke as they went. Just before the lava entered the ocean, it crossed over an important coastal highway.
From what I saw, that highway is now covered by a 20-foot tall wall of cooling, solid lava. That's too bad, because the highway that it crossed is an important potential evacuation route for residents who are still in the lower Puna area.>> The National Guard has warned of additional mandatory evacuations if more roads become blocked.
>> This wasn't here 12 hours ago. It cut off the road, so that cuts off an access point. It means people have gotta take a long way around.>> Officials said a hotter, more viscous lava could be on the way, with fountains spurting as high as 600 feet into the air.
Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanos. And since May 3rd, lava flows have destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings, and displaced thousands of residents who were either ordered to evacuate or fled voluntarily.