Lava Update: Thursday, March 23

Thick, low cloud cover, and a bit of moisture greeted us in the skies as we began our flight, but it didn’t prevent us from reaching Pu‘u ‘O‘o and the upper flow field. We were able to sneak beneath it to witness the lava pond spattering vigorously, although gases obscured the view for a bit. Plates of the pond’s crusted surface were being sucked under as its molten contents circulated. The surface flow that originated about a mile downslope of the vent, was still quite active with numerous lobes of activity, spreading out over the flow field. A single small breakout on the coastal plain was spotted roughly 3/4 mile above the emergency access road. The Kamokuna ocean entry is beginning to create a new delta at the base of the cliff where the firehose was present since New Year’s Eve. The molten stream of lava is no longer visible, as it has crusted over to form an arch that extends down to the little delta, but multiple fingers of lava could be seen entering the sea on top of the newest black sand beach on the planet.

 

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Special guest, Leslie Gleim, photographs the bubbling inferno as we hover above it.
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Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava pond bubbled and spattered vigorously while we hovered above it, circulating its contents, and swallowing up slabs of its hardened crust.
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The most recent breakout remains quite active, with a number of active lobes continuing to slowly advance. Its distal tip is in the lower left corner of the frame, while Pu‘u ‘O‘o sits in the distance in the upper right. The lighter colored lava is the most recent.
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Early morning rain on the upper flow field created a steamy scene above Pulama Pali.
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The firehose no longer exists, instead the molten stream has crusted over and created an arch that transports the lava down to the newly formed delta of land. Multiple fingers of lava flow over the newest black sand beach on the planet, to enter the Pacific Ocean.

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