Lava Update | February 20, 2018

Our weekly flight was pushed up a couple days earlier, and we’re sure glad it was, as the weather worked out perfectly, and so did the activity! Although a cloud layer over Pu‘u ‘O‘o obscured our surroundings at the vent, the lava lake bubbled from several spots on its surface… and its shape seems to be evolving, as the eastern wall had a partial collapse, and there’s a formation growing along the base of its western wall. Southeasterly winds also gave us a different vantage point that usual. Downslope, the upper flow field had small nosebleed breakouts, but the majority of action has moved to Pulama Pali, with multiple rivers of lava flowing down the steep hillside. Both the eastern and western lobes were very active. See the photos and their captions below!

Southeasterly winds gave us a different vantage point to the view Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava lake from. The collapsed portion of the eastern wall can be seen in this image.
Foundering of the lava lake’s surface occurs around the formation against the base of the crater’s western wall.
A westward view of Pulama Pali, below the kipuka that was being consumed by the western lobe over the past couple weeks.
The long river of lava cascading down Pulama Pali began as pahoehoe, but transitioned to ‘a‘a because of shear created by the steepness of the slope.
A wider view of the activity on Pulama Pali’s steep hillside. The angle from which this photo was taken, flattens the perspective, but in actuality, this is looking down very steep terrain.
A view looking down the pali toward the leading edge of the flow.
A lumpy river makes its way down the pali, between old ‘a‘a and pahoehoe flows, consuming the sparse kupukupu and ohia vegetation in its way.
The apex of a breakout sends a channel of viscous, lumpy pahoehoe down the steep slopes of Pulama Pali.
A narrow river of pahoehoe consumes a couple of young ohia saplings on Pulama Pali.
Lava oozes out from a deep crevice on the pali.
A chunk of a flow’s cooled crust breaks away, releasing the molten pahoehoe within.
A very fluid breakout on the pali created an amazing palate of colors and textures!!
A breakout of pahoehoe on the pali covers a recently cooled flow.
Another breakout ruptures forth, covering a recently cooled flow, and advancing the leading edge of the western lobe.
Another fluid breakout sends pahoehoe streaming down Pulama Pali.

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