Viva Lava: Hawaii’s Volcanoes Let It Flow

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Recently Kilauea’s lava flows have exceeded the norm in speed and volume. The effect is truly spectacular as golden glowing “rainbows” of liquid lava have been arcing into the sea, providing lucky onlookers on tour boats with a rare spectacle of Mother Nature’s primeval power.

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Molten lava is HOT – from 700 to 1,200 °C (1,292 to 2,192 °F) – and the sea, even off the coast of Hawaii, is comparatively cold. The combination is literally explosive, accompanied by roiling clouds of steam and toxic sulfurous vapors. Therefore it’s not easy (and it IS dangerous) for curious tourists to get a good view of the action, as it were. Good thing so-called “daredevil photographer” Nick Selway is on the scene to take those substantial risks for us.

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