PAHOA, Hawaii -- The eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has sent so much lava flowing into nearby Kapoho Bay that the area is now completely filled.
The United States Geological Survey announced Tuesday morning that an aerial survey of the shallow bay on the Big Island's east coast confirmed it was completely filled. To date, the coastline has been extended 0.7 miles, and lava continues to fountain from fissure 8, the source of the flow.
Helicopter footage showed dangerous laze (lava haze) pluming from the new coastline. Miles of charred, blackened landscape are visible behind the ocean-entry point, showing the lava flow's path of destruction from the inland fissure.
There's no guarantee that the extended coastline won't be further altered; the USGS warned that the newly formed lava delta is unstable and easily eroded by the surf. In some instances, collapsing deltas can bring parts of the older sea cliff crashing into the water, too.
The USGS reported that lava had inundated most of the nearby Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland subdivisions. Emergency management officials estimated that hundreds of homes in those subdivisions were destroyed by lava in addition to the dozens of homes destroyed in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in nearby Puna.