New Island of Lava Growing Off the Coast of Hawaiian Island
Lava has filled Kapoho Bay, on Hawaii's Big Island. © USGS

Scientists discovered what appears to be a “new island” forming off the coast of Hawaii.

During a Friday morning flight, a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory field crew noticed the new island oozing lava and producing a steam plume along the coastline.

Scientists think that this is part of the fissure 8 lava flow, or that it’s a submarine tumulus. A submarine tumulus can build up when the pressure of slow lava pushes the surface of the flow up above the water, creating a “dome-shaped form,” detailed Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
The fissure 8 lava flow is flowing on the west side of the Kapoho Crater, and splashing into the ocean 300 meters west of the Kapoho ocean entry, reported Big Island Now. The “island” is at the northernmost part of where the lava flow is entering the ocean, according to Khon2.

The plume of steam that is caused when lava enters the ocean, called “lava haze” or “laze,” produces hydrochloric acid which can lead to lung damage. The volcano is also releasing sulfur dioxide, volcanic ash, and glass. Also, explosions can occur as the hot lava enters cold water.

In addition to the new “island,” Hawaii also now has an extra 585 acres of land that wasn’t there before the volcano erupted. The land mass is expected to continue growing. The USGS estimates that ten acres are added to the island every day. Any “new land” will belong to the Hawaiian state government. Whenever the lava stops flowing, the land could become state parks or beaches.