Flowing Toward the Pali

The USGS has declared the 6/27 lava flow that threatened Pahoa 18 months ago officially dead. We were unable to access the northeast flow field due to the weather, but we managed to fly through the raindrops to document the robust flows to the east of the vent. This new flow is now nearly 3 miles long, and within a mile of Pulama pali. and may reach the steeper descent within days or weeks. Pele has dotted the flow field with numerous skylights and a great deal of surface lava. The multitude of outbreaks are mostly overplating and expanding the margins of the flow field, but there is a tremendous amount of lava being supplied to the flow, as evidenced by the skylights near the vent. Some of these breaks in the tubes show lava rushing by, while others are more sluggish. Pele apparently is feeding several tubes that carry lava downslope. If she is able to make her way over the pali and continue on to the coast, she will most likely consolidate into fewer tubes, and develop a more established delivery system. We were unable to access the Pu’u ‘O’o vent, due to its heavy plume and steam from recent rainfall. Residents of he communities to the north and east can now breath a sigh of relief, knowing Pele’s lava is once again moving in the direction of the beleaguered subdivision of Royal Gardens, largely abandoned for many years. Leilani the Hula Girl and Lava Ducky were on board, along with special guest, David Mair Locke. Bruce Omori and I enjoyed flying with a new Paradise Helicopters pilot, Colin Burkardt, who did a bang up job of helping us document the new activity. Mahalo, Colin!

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