Tourists visiting Hawaii over the New Year had a lucky escape after they missed the huge collapse of a sea cliff by just 15 minutes.

Twenty-six acres of the island, which is a delta formed by the flow of lava from an active volcano, fell into the ocean.

The enormous collapse created colossal waves that eroded and washed away older parts of the sea cliff, and sent plumes of rock and steam into the sky.

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Twenty-six acres of Hawaii Island, which is a delta formed by the flow of lava from an active volcano, collapsed into the ocean.

WHY IT COLLAPSED

Lava deltas are extremely hazardous volcanic features. 

They are formed when lava enters the ocean and builds new land on loose and unstable substrate.

As well as the threat of collapse, lava entering the ocean produces a highly corrosive plume of hydrochloric acid and volcanic particles that irritate the lungs, skin and eyes.

The incredible event took place at the Kamokuna ocean entry on New Year’s Eve, and resulted in the closure of the entry to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Lava deltas are extremely hazardous volcanic features. 

They are formed when lava enters the ocean and builds new land on loose and unstable substrate.

As well as the threat of collapse, lava entering the ocean produces a highly corrosive plume of hydrochloric acid and volcanic particles that irritate the lungs, skin and eyes.

Park rangers closed the Kamokuna viewing area after they heard large cracks that indicated the area could collapse. 

But five visitors ducked beneath the closure line and headed for the coastal cliffs.

The rangers had to chase after them and bring them back – 15 minutes before the section of the cliff they were standing on crashed into the ocean.

Travis Delimont, the ranger on duty, said: ‘It was a really close brush with death for them. ‘Luckily, they finally listened to us and turned around in time’

The incredible event took place at the Kamokuna ocean entry on New Year’s Eve, and resulted in the closure of the entry to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Travis Delimont, the ranger on duty, said: ‘It was a really close brush with death for them.

‘Luckily, they finally listened to us and turned around in time.

Fortunately, no boats were in the area at the time, or visitors on the delta itself.

Park Superintendent, Cindy Orlando, said: ‘Had anyone been close by on land, water or air, lives would have surely been lost.’

The enormous collapse created colossal waves that eroded and washed away older parts of the sea cliff, and sent plumes of rock, lava and steam into the sky

The incredible event occurred at the Kamokuna ocean entry on New Year’s Eve and resulted in the loss of 26 acres of land. It created colossal waves that eroded and washed away older parts of the sea cliff

 

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