Lava Flow Surges Forward at 35 MPH, Destroying Everything It Touches

A Kilauea shield volcano in Hawaii

Lava Flow Surges Forward at 35 MPH, Destroying Everything It Touches

In this video, there is something incredible about watching lava flow from Mount Kilauea that will capture your attention for all 11 minutes. The second half of the video shows how lava moves, which is some of the best footage of this event captured in 1955. Take a peek at the flow in these still images, and then head to the full video to see even more of the lava-flowing action.

Lava Flow

Lava Flow
The lava flow looks very comparable to a watery river.

In this first still image, you see one of the few lava-flowing rivers created due to the nonstop A’a and Pahoehoe lava erupting from Mount Kilauea. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say that the lava flow looks very similar to river water.

Thicker than Water

Lava river
The water looks thin, but it’s much thicker than water.

With this view, you get another sense of lava flowing, but you likely don’t know that this A’a lava is 20 times thicker than water. As much as the lava seems to flow like a river, the density of the lava far exceeds that of water.

Fast Moving

Fast lava flow
The lava flow can travel up to 35 miles per hour.

While difficult to see in this still image, the full video will show how fast lava can flow. At a 30-degree angle, the flickery lava can flow at around 35 miles per hour, which makes it difficult to escape.

Slow Moving

Slow moving lava
In this image, the lava is moving super slow through rocky formations.

Compared to previous footage showing fast-moving lava, you can also see slower-moving lava on smaller declines. This lava flow is far slower when thicker and has to move around the rocky Hawaiin formations.

Flickery Surface

Lava flickery
The lava in this image has a very flickery surface.

This video gives you another view of lava’s appearance when moving along a rocky surface. This thicker lava flow moves slower but is no less dangerous than any other lava flow shown in the full video.

Destroying Everything

Lava burns
The lava flow is eating up everything in its path.

In this image, you get a sense of how easily lava can destroy everything in its place. As the flow moves over a grassy area, it burns toward the bottom of the flow as it gobbles up all of the surface area it moves over.

Lava On Road

Lava on road
It’s very frightening to see lava on the road.

This photo shows what it looks like when lava jumps on a roadway. Not only does this shut down the roadway for the time being, but clearing the lava after it hardens is a large construction effort.

Mini Lava Flow

Lava flow
The lava flowing onto the road creates one beautiful, if frightening, sight.

In another view, lava flowing onto a road gives you a sense of a miniature lava flow. In the video, you see a solid flow of lava as it falls onto the road from the hill. In other words, nothing is stopping this lava river as it goes wherever it wants, however, it wants.

No More Rubbish

Lava rubbish
The lava is washing through all of the rubbish in its way.

Moving through a one-time construction area, this slow-moving lava flow passes right over rubbish used in building construction. Unsurprisingly, the lava gobbles up everything in its path as it advances at 1,000 feet per hour.

Into the Ocean

lava ocean
Lava flowing into the ocean creates rising steam.

This image shows what happens when lava flows into the Pacific Ocean. The water’s cold temperature hitting the superhot lava leads to endless amounts of steam rising.

50 Foot Cliff

Lava 50 feet
Lava falls off a cliff into the ocean, creating even more steam.

The video shows another view of the lava hitting the ocean as the lava falls off a 50-foot cliff right into the water. As the previous image shows, the cold water and hot lava result in large amounts of steam rising up from the ocean.

Watch the Full Video

Watch the full video
To see the full lava flow in action, watch the full video.

Unfortunately, pictures don’t do this lava flow justice, so you must watch the full video to see the real action. The 1955 camerawork is outstanding and gives you a wonderful sense of what happens during a major volcanic eruption.

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