If you’ve been following the recent volcanic activity in Hawaii, you’ve probably encountered the term “laze.” What is this phenomenon? Is it hazardous? Your trusted fishing charter blog provides the full scoop on laze and its dangers below.
What is laze?
Laze is the term used for “lava haze.” It forms when lava flows into ocean waters. The lava reacts with the salt water to create a gas plume. This chemical reaction generates a noxious haze, or laze.
What’s the science behind laze?
As the lava hits the ocean water, a series of chemical reactions occurs. The hot lava causes the cold sea water to boil. The resulting plume (cloud column) contains a mixture of hydrochloric acid gas and steam.
Also within the mixture are shards of glass. As the lava cools, it forms glass, which then shatters into pieces of various sizes. As the steam cloud rises, it carries with it the smaller pieces of this glass. As a result, the plume is filled with tiny shards. Scientists have named this glass “Pele’s seaweed,” after the Hawaiian fire goddess of volcanoes.
Is laze dangerous?
Yes, it can be. The most dangerous place of exposure is where the lava enters the sea. The laze is irritating, acidic and toxic. Because it travels with the wind, it can also change direction quickly. This can make steering clear of laze difficult. Even exposure to the edges of the plume can cause eye and skin irritation and breathing difficulties. The dense white clouds may look harmless, but they are far from it.
How does laze affect the local environment?
In addition to the noxious breathing conditions that laze forms, it can also cause acid rain. Large amounts of lava flowing into the ocean can create giant clouds of rain with pH levels between 1.5 and 3.5. This is the equivalent of diluted battery acid, making the storm quite corrosive. As the acid rain and glass-filled plumes travel across the region, they can destroy vegetation and wildlife.
Where can laze be found today?
As Kilauea continues to transform the landscape of Hawaii, laze activity has posed additional hazards. Lava from the volcano has poured into the sea, creating large ash plumes. The area has seen giant clouds of fine glass and acid. While the laze might be fascinating, it is dangerous to observe. Again, winds can change quickly and swiftly bring the laze in a new direction. Safety and observation crews have attempted to monitor the laze, warn locals of its dangers and keep damage and injury to a minimum.
Do you have additional questions about laze, volcanic activity and its affects on local wildlife? Our fishing charter blog is your go-to source. Search our site and check in regularly to discover more fascinating and useful information about fishing and more. To speak to one of our experts directly, contact the team at Sea Wife Charters. We would be happy to answer your questions or make arrangements for your personal fishing charter so you can experience Hawaii firsthand!