Volcanoes park lava bench falls into ocean

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Aug 18th, 2007, 05:45 PM
  #1
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Volcanoes park lava bench falls into ocean

Excerpt from West Hawaii Today newspaper (Big Island)....

A major lava bench along the coastline of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has collapsed into the ocean.

Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the East Laeapuki delta, an unsteady feature built by lava flowing into the ocean, has disappeared. "It is totally gone," he said.

East Laeapuki had been one of Puu Oo's main ocean entry sites, and its iconic scenes of lava dripping into the water have become one of the hallmarks of the 24-year-old eruption.

It's also one of Kilauea's most hazardous features, with its constant and sudden collapses into the ocean. The sea claimed 34 acres of the lava bench in December 1996, 44 acres in November 2005 and 16 acres in May.

Before the penultimate collapse in May, volcanologists estimated East Laeapuki to be 58 acres.

"We're pretty sure that some of the old sea cliff also went in. It was impressive," Kauahikaua said.

The lava benches are prone to collapse without warning. A man was killed in April 1993 when the lava bench on which he was walking fell into the ocean without warning. His body was never recovered.
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Aug 21st, 2007, 08:03 PM
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Before and after photos....

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/ap...0821009&Ref=AR
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Aug 21st, 2007, 08:41 PM
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Wow, big chunk of real estate! Looking forward to visiting the Big Island for the first time next month, hope there is still something left!
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