Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy relied heavily on CGI to turn Mordor into hell on Earth, complete with a lava-spewing volcano and rivers of molten stone running through a barren wasteland. The same description also applies to parts of Hawaii’s Big Island, but the lava is real, and the Kilauea volcano was happy to do the terraforming for free.
A new aerial video from the US Geological Survey, captured during a helicopter flight over the East Rift Zone on Thursday, shows the extent of the devastation caused by the ongoing eruption. The coastline ravaged by the lava flowing from Fissure 8 is about a mile long, and it’s turned into a complete wasteland. Rivers of lava continue to flow, and the rock that’s left behind is as black and charred as you’d imagine.
“A helicopter overflight video of the lower East Rift Zone on June 14, 2018, around 6:00 AM, shows lava fountaining at fissure 8 feeding channelized lava flows that flow into the ocean,” said the USGS. “Lava is still flowing out of fissure 8 unabated and the channel is full. At the start of the video, standing waves in the lava channel can be seen near the vent exit. The channel appears crust-free from vent to the bend around Kapoho Crater. A surface crust forms over the channel as it spreads out during its approach to the ocean. The overflight along the ocean entry is from north to south along the coastline. The ocean entry is active along the whole length – approximately 1 mile. Small litoral explosions are occurring and there are several plumes of laze.”
The eruption started on May 4th and has been going on for over a month now, with no signs of an end any time soon. The consequences are being felt as far away as the Marshall Islands, which are currently covered in a haze of volcanic smog.