A portion of cliff collapses cutting off the ongoing flow of lava that had been spilling out of Kamokuna cliff since New Year's Eve.
Lava free-falls into the sea from Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii on July 26,2002. REUTERS/Courtesy US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

The firehose lava flow that had been spilling out of a seaside cliff on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano since New Year’s Eve finally stopped Thursday after a portion of the cliff collapsed, according to reports. Hawaii Volcano Observatory geologists were at the site observing a large crack in a section of the cliff and were able to catch video footage of the collapse, which blocked the opening of the eastern seaside cliff that had been gushing out molten hot lava for weeks.

Tourists were also in the area at the time of the collapse, and later that same day guests on a tour boat near Kilauea’s shoreline recorded videos of a second section of the cliff collapsing, sending debris into the air and a causing a large piece of land to fall into the ocean just a few feet ahead of the boat.

Although the collapse stopped the stream of lava, Hawaii Volcano Observatory officials said Sunday Kilauea was still active at its summit and East Rift Zone and that the lava was still able to flow into the ocean at Kamokuna’s entry, but not of the same magnitude as before the collapse. The observatory said that surface lava flow was still prevalent within 1.5 miles of the volcano’s vent at Pu’u O’o.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory didn’t expect the remaining lava flow to be a threat to nearby areas. However, Janet Babb, a USGS geologist, told local media Friday Thursday’s collapse didn’t necessarily mean the area was in in the clear and that other areas of the unstable cliff could still break off at any time.

“This collapse yesterday did not diminish the hazards,” she said. “As long as lava continues to flow into the ocean, that area is still quite hazardous. There’s still potential for collapses of the sea cliff there.”

Babb said explosions caused by molten lava hitting the salty ocean water could also send large chunks of hot rock and debris inland. Gasses released from the explosion could also be dangerous.

Kilauea’s firehose flow first started on New Year’s Eve after 21 acres of lava delta collapsed into the ocean, exposing a lava tube at Kamokuna’s seaside entry. In most cases, lava streams last about one to two days.