Environment Natural Disasters Lava Whirlwind Swirls at Kilauea Volcano By Ben Bolton Writer University of Georgia Ben Bolton has covered athletics for several universities. He has since embarked on a career as a digital editor, creating media campaigns for major brands. our editorial process Ben Bolton Updated July 04, 2018 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Environment Planet Earth Climate Crisis Pollution Recycling & Waste Natural Disasters Transportation As Kilauea continues to ravage parts of the Big Island in Hawaii, scientists have spotted a whirlwind of lava swirling above the ground near fissure 8. The vortex of hot lava can be seen in this video from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as lava is flung in every direction. This particular scene lasted about 10 minutes. A whirlwind forms when "hot gases rise and punch through the cooler air above, to create vertical column of hot air," according to the USGS. The rising column of air then can rotate rapidly. You can't see the motion as well, but this aerial video gives you a better sense of the flow. Kilauea's recent volcanic activity has spanned more than two months so far, including several collapsing craters, many explosions of lava and ash, and more than 4,000 earthquakes. The lava from the volcano has covered nearly 10.2 miles of land and even evaporated the largest freshwater lake in the state.