SCIENCE
05/31/2016 08:31 pm ET

New Lava Breakouts Cascade Down Hawaii Volcano

Welcome to one of the world's most active volcanoes.

Last week, two new lava flows broke out on Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, oozing red hot molten rock down the volcano's Pu’u O’o cone.

The breakouts, which began on May 24, have been continuously flowing -- and are quite a sight to behold. Helicopters flying overhead on May 29 captured footage of the lava cascading through the fields of black lava rock.

The two new flows, one extending to the northwest of the cone and the other to the southeast, originate from Kilauea volcano's Pu’u O’o vent, which has been continuously erupting since 1983.

Kilauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes, so breakouts like these aren't uncommon -- but that doesn't make them any less incredible.

From a bird's-eye view, the mesmerizing lava flows look relatively small, but they are much larger than they appear. The river of lava in the photo below, for instance, is an estimated 32 feet wide.

This May 25 USGS photo shows the northern breakout feeding an impressive channel of lava that extended about 0.6 mi
USGS
This May 25 USGS photo shows the northern breakout feeding an impressive channel of lava that extended about 0.6 mi northwest of the cone.

None of the current flows pose a threat to nearby communities, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. However, Pu’u O’o has caused alarm for Big Island residents in the past -- a 2014 Pu’u O’o flow claimed one home and threatened a small community for months.

The USGS map below shows the 2014 lava flow in light red and the current breakouts in darker red.

The new breakouts are denoted in bright red in the above map.
USGS
The new breakouts are denoted in bright red in the above map.

Watch the full video below:

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Hawaii Lava Flow 2014
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