The extension of this safety zone is necessary to protect persons and vessels from hazards associated with molten lava entering the ocean while the proposed rule is reviewed.
According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, several large cracks have developed in the lava delta, running parallel to the coastline and spanning the width of the delta. These cracks increase the likelihood of a large delta collapse.
Initially, the safety zone was set to expire in September 28, however, an extension is now considered as necessary. Now, this rule is effective from September 28, 2017 through March 28, 2018.
Lava delta growth and subsequent lava bench threat of collapse could cause an increase in hazardous conditions for mariners. The ocean entry hazards result in lava delta instability and fracturing from lava accumulation built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land and existing sea cliff to become unsupported and slide explosively into the sea. Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death.