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Tiny New Island Of Lava Forms Near Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano

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HAWAII (CBSMiami) -- The U.S. Geological Service says a new tiny lava island has formed off the coast of the Big Island in Hawaii.

New Lava Island
(Courtesy: U.S. Geological Service)

Scientists say the island is located a few meters offshore and is about 20 to 30 feet in diameter.

Scientists say the new lava island is most likely part of the fissure 8 flow that's entering the ocean. The experts believe underwater pressure pushed the lava flow to the surface, which is called a tumulus, or domelike swelling or mound formed in congealed lava.

If the lava flow stays active, the island will probably connect to the coastline, USGS said. If not, it might erode away because of wave action.

The U.S. Coast Guard recently lifted restrictions on tour boats going near the lava flow area and on Monday at least a dozen people were injured after a lava explosion sent rocks and debris flying into the air and landing on a tour boat off Kapoho.

Hawaii County officials say a lava bomb punctured the roof of the boat, leaving a large hole.

Of the 12 injured, three were taken to the Hilo Medical Center. Two of them were in stable condition. One person, a woman in her 20s, was in serious condition with a fractured femur.

The Kilauea Volcano eruption began May 3, sending a smoldering flow of lava into residential areas on the Big Island. Kilauea was still erupting lava as of Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

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