‘Laze’ plume could carry toxic substances miles away from lava’s ocean entry

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is warning about a “laze” plume that could reach 15 miles downwind of the lava’s ocean entry on Hawaii island’s southeast coast today.

Janet Babb, HVO spokeswoman, said the laze, short for lava haze, is formed by the reaction of hot lava coming into contact with cold seawater, producing a dense white plume of steam laced with hydrochloric acid and glass particles.

The hydrochloric acid is created by the chemical reaction between the lava and the seawater, while the glass particles are formed when lava touches seawater and shatters, similar to a glass bowl scattering glass shards when it hits the ground.