Hawaiian volcano 'smiles' as lava flows to ocean

Posted at 2:27 PM, Jul 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 15:34:56-04

Red-hot lava is rolling down the cliffs of the big island of Hawaii and dropping into the ocean below, creating new land.

The spectacular waterfall of lava is compliments of the Kilauea volcano, inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This is the first time since 2013 that one of the volcano's lava flows has made it to the Pacific Ocean.

Lava started erupting in late May, and has been steadily rolling to the coast. The six-mile long lava flow finally reached the ocean earlier this week.

At one point, the flow of the lava appeared to form a smiling face - an occurrence that hasn't escaped notice on social media.

Authorities say it poses no threat to nearby communities, but it is attracting tourists, who are being warned to keep their distance.

Lava hitting the sea can be explosive, sending an acidic plume of volcanic particles into the air that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.