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8/20/2007

Big Island lava bench drops into ocean

COURTESY OF HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
Above is a view of the East Laeapuki bench in May. The picture above (right) shows the site on Friday.

Hawaii, USA


Most of the lava bench and part of the nearby sea cliff fell into the ocean

VOLCANO, Hawaii » A large lava bench along the coastline at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park collapsed into the ocean this week, possibly shaken loose by several earthquakes, volcanologists said.

The East Laeapuki delta, an unsteady feature built by lava from Kilauea volcano flowing into the ocean, has disappeared, said Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge at Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Nearly 44 acres of the bench vanished, perhaps because of a 5.4-magnitude earthquake Monday or high surf caused by Hurricane Flossie, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

COURTESY OF HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
Above shows the site on Friday.
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