Over the last week, researchers from the US Geological Survey have been anxiously watching a seaside cliff in Hawaii, which is threatening to collapse into the ocean due to a nearby lava stream pouring from a crack in the cliff.
The USGS researchers described how they could hear "grinding noises" coming from the crack as it widened. Although the video footage from the lava flow doesn't include audio, I'd like to imagine that the grinding noises heard by the researchers sounded something like this:
The lava stream is coming from Kilauea, the most active of the five volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawaii. On January 28, the USGS researchers described what looked like a "firehose" of lava pouring from a crack on the volcanoes ocean-facing side. By February 1 the flow was still going, although it had greatly dissipated. Still, the lava flow resulted in massive explosions, sometimes throwing cooling chunks of lava nearly 100 feet in the air.
However the real concern arose not from the lava flow, but its effects on a nearby "hot crack" (about 420 degrees Fahrenheit) in the sea cliff near the flow. On January 28, the crack was only a foot and a half wide, but due to the intensity of the lava flow has grown to 2.5 feet over the last four days. This has greatly destabilized the cliff and the researchers note that it is now "highly unstable and could collapse at any time."
In response to this hazard, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service has set up a viewing area sufficiently removed from the lava flow, so visitors can listen to the sweet, sweet sounds of a lava waterfall spewing forth from the bowels of hell in safety.