The Newest Land in the World is in Hawaii
Part of the reason to visit MacKenzie State Park was to see the newest land in the world. The lava from the May 4th and subsequent eruptions of Kilauea eventually found its way to the sea. Magma continued to flow for months. Sometimes at 25+ miles per hour. For a short time, there was an island off shore formed by the lava, but the fast moving magma finally filled that in.
Some people were not so lucky when they were viewing the lava from the shore. Because when lava hits the sea, the sizzling and steaming can produce lava bombs. The explosions sent lava bombs flying many feet into the air and a few slammed tour boats. In one instance, 23 people were injured by lava bombs.
The ocean sends waves up over the cliffs at MacKenzie State Park in lower Puna. Just walking too close to the cliff is dangerous. A wave could grab you before you had a chance to turn around and knock you into the rocky shore below. Altogether, the newest land in the world in Hawaii has added about 700 acres to the state of Hawaii.
This is how islands are formed. Under the sea is a huge bed of magma known as a hot spot. The tectonic plate that sits over the hot spot moves only a few inches a year, taking the islands with it. This means the older islands, like Kauai and Ni’ihau once sat directly over the hot spot, where Kilauea is now, and they drifted away over the years. Which is why their volcanoes are extinct.
Below the ironwood trees you can see the top of the lava flowing into the sea, which has created the newest land in the world in Hawaii. You will note the sprouts scattered. Those are coconut palm trees, and they don’t grow near this location. Nobody knows if seeds were carried by the lava or if somebody decided to toss baby palms into the rock.
We met a tourist couple carrying their son walking along the top of the cliffs. In the tourist’s hand was a chunk of lava. He said his son was born in May of 2018, so that new lava rock was a memento for him. Our guide shared the tale of Pele’s wrath and how bad things happen to people who remove lava from the island.
He has had previous tour customers mail back lava rocks, he claims, pleading with him to take it back to Pele. One customer said she got home and her dog was sick for no known reason. Her car would not start. The lights in her house flickered, and all sorts of horrible things began happening. Soon as she returned the lava to the Big Island, everything stopped and her life went back to normal.
Whether it’s true or not, makes for a good story to scare tourists into dropping those lava rocks.
Below are a few more closeup photos I shot of the fresh lava. It sparkles when it’s new. And it comes in many colors. Maybe it’s just me, but I can see animal shapes in the lava photos below. Can you? Hope you enjoy the photos of the newest land in the world.