Hawaii’s Big Island faces new threat from Kilauea volcano – lava haze

Image capture of video via Wall Street Journal's Youtube account
  • The open fissures of Mount Kilauea have produced two streams of molten hot lava which have poured across the island, hitting the Pacific Ocean and creating a massive laze cloud
  • Laze is a fatal acid steam formed when lava hits the ocean which has been likened to battery acid due to its high toxicity levels

A volcano that is oozing, spewing lava and destroying dozens of houses in Hawaii’s Big Island has gotten more hazardous.

The lava from the Kilauea volcano has now reached the ocean; presenting a new threat to Hawaii residents.

Civil defense authorities on Sunday warned the public that as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, a toxic steam cloud has formed due to a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater and it is called lava haze, or “laze”.

Scientists said the acid in the plume was about as corrosive as diluted battery acid.

“Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation,” the agency said in a message to residents.

“Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.”

The biggest concern at the moment is erratic wind; making it hard for officials to predict where the laze will spread.