Hawaii's Largest Freshwater Lake Is No More

Evaporated by lava flow, Green Lake may be gone for good
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2018 10:09 AM CDT
Hawaii's Largest Freshwater Lake Is No More
Lava flows evaporate the waters of Green Lake in this Saturday photo taken near Pahoa, Hawaii.   (U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

Kapoho Bay's famous tidal pools, eaten up by lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano this week, were apparently only dessert. On Saturday, Hawaii's largest freshwater lake disappeared in hours as lava rushed into it, reports NPR. On its way to the ocean, the lava flow sent a plume of steam into the air as it hit Green Lake, a popular swimming spot, around 10am Saturday. Within five hours, the lava had filled in the lake, up to 200 feet deep, and "boiled away the water," USGS volcanologist Sally Sennert tells NPR, expressing doubt the lake will ever return. "I couldn't believe it," a college geography instructor says, per CNN. "I've never even heard of anything like that happening before."

Elsewhere, the lava's move into Kapoho Bay Tuesday—at a record pace of about five and a half football fields per hour, according to USGS—turned "a playland for water sports into an ominous field of molten rock," per USA Today. Nearly a mile of new land was created in the process, reports Time, explaining it falls into state hands as it's outside the boundary of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If it doesn't collapse into the ocean, it could still be a long time before the rock is usable. "How soon vegetation comes back on a lava flow really depends on the type of lava it is, and how much rainfall there is in the area," a geologist explains at Time. (Read more Hawaii stories.)

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