Speed Reads

Nature's Nightmares

Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano evaporates entire lake

On Saturday morning, the freshwater Green Lake on Hawaii's Big Island was there. By afternoon, it was gone, completely evaporated by boiling hot lava.

Lava from the Kilauea volcano crossed a highway and entered the lake at 10 a.m., and by 3 p.m., the lake was filled with lava and all of the water evaporated, the U.S. Geological Survey says. Green Lake was a major source of freshwater on the island.

"The lava is quite hot, so it boiled away the water," USGS volcanologist Sally Sennert told NPR. "The lava flows, like a stream of water, are going to take the path of least resistance as they flow downhill." Sennert said she does not believe the lake will make a comeback. The volcano had a major eruption last month, and smaller eruptions continue to take place. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by lava, which is moving at 656 yards an hour, and thousands of residents have been displaced.