Lava shoots out of sea cliff in Hawaii like a fire hose

HONOLULU -- It's being described as a lava fire hose.

A stream of molten lava is spewing out of a cliff on Kilauea and into the Pacific Ocean.

It's mesmerizing and dangerous.

The interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater is causing explosive reactions and throwing fragments of molten lava more than 30 yards into the air, according to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"During one exceptionally large burst, spatter was thrown about twice the height of the sea cliff," the USGS said. "These ocean entry littoral explosions, both large and small, create hazardous conditions on land and at sea."

(Photo: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

(Photo: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

Researchers can't get too close, not only because of the spatter, but because a section of the cliff could collapse.

"Just above the lava stream, about 10 (yards) behind the sea cliff, is a narrow line of high temperatures that appears to be a hot crack. This hot crack suggests that the sea cliff around the entry point is unstable and has the potential to collapse," scientists said.

Thermal imaging shows the lava stream and the hot crack.

(Photo: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

(Photo: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

The cliff inside the boundary of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the lava is pouring into the water at the Kamokuna ocean entry.