October 3, 2018 – Still No Lava (VIDEO)

October 3, 2018 Still No Lava from Mick Kalber on Vimeo.

This morning was our first day visiting the eruption site without the TFR in place, which prevented us from flying below 3 thousand feet. We got some great shots of the new beaches from Kapoho to Pohoiki. The ponds to the north that have existed since shortly after the lava hit the ocean are now gone… filled in with black sand. A small island is still just offshore nearby, but ocean swells, particularly this winter will most likely destroy it. Pohoiki’s black sand beach is stunning… and sports at least three inland ponds… but the lack of flowing water in them will probably turn them stagnant, and not good for swimming. Oh, and there’s a dragon drinking water at the shoreline to the southeast of the news beach. OK, it’s a sea arch… but it sure looks like a dragon to me! The home that survived just to the west of Kapoho Crater (Green Mountain) is a sight to behold… with lava having on every side, and right up to the porch, she still stands! Totally inaccessible, of course, but a wonder nonetheless. The top of a storage container peaks out through the hardened pahoehoe near the empty lava river, it’s bed of a’a 20-40 feet below the river banks. Several homes are still standing in a large kipuka in lower Leilani. A road still exists there, with a number of homes… completely isolated by tons of Pele’s hardened lava… and a huge fissure right in the backyard! Fissure 22 is now the most perfect cone shop of any vent I’ve ever seen here… she sits right to the south of PGV, but like all the fissures in a line there, effuses no lava. Only a few fissures were steaming today… and not much at that. Even more are completely quiet… lo lava, no steam. Fissure 8 still shows very small puffs of steam from a break the frozen lake at the bottom of the vent… otherwise, nothing. Stranded cars, homes, belongings… roads suddenly appearing in the black lava rock… going absolutely nowhere. Common sights in and around the flow field. On the other hand, birds have returned to the eruption site… and it’s truly remarkable how green things are getting! And some lucky residents, whose homes survived the onslaught, are returning home as well… wondering why they are so blessed to be able to do so, when so many have lost everything.
It is now been nearly two months since the eruption went into a pause… or lull, as scientists call it. She is still showing no signs of reactivation… almost no seismic at the summit, downslope, or in-between… and may not resume eruptive activity. The lack of seismicity both at the summit and the lower east rift zone seem to support that projection, but time will tell… Pele is not talking.
Leilani, New Sheriff Ducky, Bruce Omori and I were back in Paradise Helicopters’ pilot Sean Regehr’s office again this morning.Always a pleasure flying with Paradise and Sean… no one does it better!

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