New black sand beaches formed from 2018 Kilauea eruptions

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FILE – In this May 20, 2018 file photo, lava from an open fissure on Kilauea volcano shoots high above a tree in Pahoa, Hawaii. A small pond of water has been discovered inside the summit crater of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano for the first time in recorded history, possibly signaling a shift to a more explosive phase of future eruptions. The United States Geological Survey says that after a week of questions about a green patch inside Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater, researchers were able to confirm the presence of water on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

New black sand beaches have been discovered in Kapoho on Hawaii Island. They are the result of the 2018 Kilauea eruptions, and the beaches are still forming.

The new beaches are about an hour hike toward the Kumukahi lighthouse, though county officials warn people about the dangers of checking them out.

New black sand beach in Kapoho. Picture courtesy of Petra Wiesenbauer

“That area has some large tracks of private property,” County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said. “Once the roads are constructed, then that’s public access. Then everybody will have a right of way down there.”

Though people have the legal right to go to the coast, Magno warns of the natural dangers of still-forming volcanic beaches: unstable ground that can be hazardous for falls, deceptively sharp lava rock, and collapsing cliffs on the coastline.

“That area will be a long way from any kind of support if [you] get into trouble,” Magno said.

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