Lava From Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Oozes Into Ocean (Photos)

Looking at this photo, you can almost feel the heat. (credit:Lava Ocean Tours)
Lava from an ongoing Kilauea eruption entered the ocean early Tuesday, creating photo opportunities for those brave enough to get close.

The United State Geographical Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the lava flow extending southeast of Pu'u O'o toward the coastal plain on Kilauea's south flank reached the ocean about 1:12 a.m. local time.

A tour boat gets up close and personal with the lava flowing into the ocean. (credit:Lava Ocean Tours)

The flow started May 24 and it's the first time it has traveled south down Kilauea and across the coastal plain since 2013.

USGS officials are warning those venturing out to view the spectacular display to use caution:

"There are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs," wrote the USGS in an update. "Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water."

They warned that the new land created by the lava flow is unstable because it is "built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea."

Steam rises as the lava comes into contact with the water. (credit:Lava Ocean Tours)

In addition, visitors should be careful to avoid the acidic plume that rises when the lava comes into contact with the water as the fine volcanic particles in the steam can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs."
Lava oozes into the ocean from Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano. (credit:Lava Ocean Tours)
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