Lava Update | January 4, 2018

Happy New Year to you all! Our first media lava charter of 2018 was an incredible one, as January 3rd marked the 35th anniversary of this current eruption, the activity we observed was truly outstanding! And things started out in a spectacular fashion with Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava lake giving us a show… transitioning from a crusted surface with little bursts of activity, to an entire body of molten liquid bubbling and foundering, all in a span of just a couple minutes! And as often as we do this, I’m often amused that the flights never get old, as my mind was blown once again!    The upper flow field continues to be very active, with several large breakouts occurring while we hovered above it, while the pali and coastal plain remain somewhat subdued, relatively speaking. See the photos below! And, stayed tuned for a HOT Lava Fix!!  

The surface of Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava lake liquified before our eyes, as we hovered over it! Oops… Whose shoe is that??
Pu‘u ‘O‘o bubbles and degases as we initially approach it, with the snow capped summits of Mauna Loa (left) and Mauna Kea in the background. 28 knot winds blowing in a favorable direction gave us a clearer than usual view of boiling body of molten lava.
As we hovered over the lava lake, its surface began fracturing and foundering, as it came to life in its usual dynamic and dramatic fashion.
The rising sun provided a beautiful backdrop for this breakout.
A breakout on the upper flow field flowed over a steep slope, creating twisting textured ribbons of molten rock, as it advanced in a southernly direction.
As breakouts in the upper flow field advanced, it covered areas where vegetation was taking root, only to get consumed by 2000 degree molten rock.
Special guest, Jacob Straube, joined us on the flight, and had a blast shooting all the activity we were blessed with! Coincidentally, his company recently painted 508, the helicopter we were flying in!
Leilani the Hula Girl and Bikini Lava Ducky enjoyed the flight too!

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