HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hawaii Volcano National Park announced last weekend’s big surf took a toll on Holei Sea Arch.
Holei Sea Arch is a 90-foot tall lava rock formation on the coast in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
In the photos below you can compare the bottom of the arch leg in each photo.
The first photo was taken Sunday, July 17, 2022. A big chunk of rock appears ready to break loose from the lower part of the leg.
The second photo was taken the next morning on Monday, July 18. That big chunk of rock is gone.
According to Hawaii Volcano NP it is possible the arch could collapse into the ocean at any time without warning.
They advise not walking out onto Hōlei Sea Arch. It has been closed for years due to instability like earth cracks, erosion and steep ocean cliffs near the arch.
You can instead admire what could possibly be a last look at Hōlei Sea Arch from the safe viewing area away from the cliff edge, near the end of Chain of Craters Road.
Sea arches are beautiful, and a temporary part of the ever-changing volcanic landscape. According to Hawaii Volcano NP, Hōlei Sea Arch was formed as the Pacific Ocean pounded into an ancient lava flow about 550 years ago. A continued battering of waves and erosion created the shape we see today.
Sea arches, such as Hōlei Sea Arch, at the end of Chain of Craters Road, can be found along a wide swath of the southern coastline of Hawai’i. These arches are remnants of once-continuous sea cliffs, where lava has previously met the sea and added to the size of the island.
The moment that new lava cooled and turned to rock, however, it began to erode. Immediately, the wind and water began to pound and fracture the cliffs.
The seas on the southern edge of Hawai’i are known for being rough and having violent surf.
Ever so slowly, these eroding waves break apart and wear away the rock, sculpting sea caves into the cliff.
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For more information about sea arches head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s website.