Scientists monitoring the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii recently saw something unique: a lava "tornado."
"The vortex of rapidly swirling air entrained and flung bits of lava 10s of feet," the U.S. Geological Survey said in a tweet. Scientists captured the footage by using telephoto lenses, the agency said. The fiery whirlwind happened off and on for about 10 minutes.
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The agency said the event was documented from a safe distance, perhaps trying to warn people away from trying to capture their own lava tornadoes on camera.
From May 3, when Kilauea started erupting, through mid-June, about 40 people were arrested for loitering near lava flows. The penalty for loitering near a lava flow ranges from a $5,000 fine to a year in jail.
Since Kilauea began erupting, lava has destroyed more than 40 structures and the eruption has opened more than 20 vents into the ground — four of which have merged into one large crack, according to the Associated Press. At least one person has been injured.