February 23, 2017 Plenty Pali Flows

What’s new at the 61G eruption of Kilauea? Well, flows on, and just above the Pali appear to be robbing the firehose of some of its lava. The ocean entry still sports a tremendous amount of liquid rock pouring into the ocean… but its volume is noticeably reduced. Flows are burning the last forested kipukas to the southwest of what was once Royal Gardens… and a huge breakout in the middle of the Pali is sending pahoehoe streaming downslope, becoming a’a toward the base of the cliff. The Pu’u ‘O’o vent was very difficult to access this morning… but we got there for a few quick glimpses of a steamy lava lake. The vent is a clearing house for lava traveling six miles downslope and entering the ocean in a single firehose lava stream at Kamokuna, just inside the Hawaii Volcanoes Nationals Park boundary. All of this has been going on for quite some time… but the new developments over the past two weeks are numerous new surface flows both on and above the Pali, as well as a few on the coastal flats. Several skylights have opened up above the Pali… the lava moving above, as well as into and out of the tubes below. The firehose lava at the ocean entry was still active when we visited today, and littoral explosions continue to rock the coastline, which remains cracked and dangerously unstable. Several recent collapses have lopped off sizable portions of the bench and sea cliff at the entry area. As the firehose shoots lava into the water, the cold sea water in turn freezes the lava and the concussions shatter it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others gain the purchase of the coastal rocks and form black sand beaches. The ocean entry remains a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana of HVNP side by walking out the temporary access road, which goes directly to the ocean entry! The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed. Kudos to Paradise Helicopter pilot Colin Burkardt (the smiley face pilot), who did his normal fantastic job of getting us up close and personal with the Volcano Goddess Pele… You da man, Colin! Bruce Omori, special guest Jacob Straube, Leilani, Tourist Ducky and I had a fabulous lava overflight charter. It just doesn’t get any better than flying with Paradise Helicopters!
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LAVA FIX!!

Here are a few intimate images from this past week’s overflight. Hope this helps soothe that “itch” for something HOT!!!

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Molten lava flows out from beneath the fractured crust of a tube.

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A river of lava carries floating islands of cooling crust downstream.

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A river of lava splits into two branches, spreading the flow’s reach as it nears cresting Pulama Pali.

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A river of lava flows into a tube, obscuring its pathway downslope.

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An opening in a lava tube’s roof, referred to as a skylight, gave us a peek at the river of lava within its depths, feeding flow 61G.

February 16, 2017 Surface Flows

What’s new at the 61G lava flow of Kilauea? Well… we still have an active lava lake inside the Pu’u ‘O’o vent. The vent is a clearing house for lava traveling six miles downslope and entering the ocean with a great volume of lava in a single firehose lava stream at Kamokuna, just inside the Hawaii Volcanoes Nationals spark boundary. All of this has been going on for quite some time… but the new developments over the past week are a veritable plethora of new surface flows both on the coastal plain, as well as a short distance above the top of the Pali. These breakouts are by far the most surface lava we’ve seen since the first couple months of the 61G flow… and they were spectacular! The firehose lava at the ocean entry was largely obscured when we visited today, but littoral explosions continue to rock the coastline, which remains cracked and dangerously unstable. Several recent collapses have lopped off sizable portions of the bench and sea cliff at the entry area. The long-lived firehose lava stream shoots tons of hot molten lava into the cold sea water, causing littoral explosions. the cold sea water in turn freezes the lava and the concussions shatter it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others gain the purchase of the coastal rocks and form black sand beaches. The ocean entry remains a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana of HVNP side by walking out the temporary access road, which goes directly to the ocean entry! The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed. Mahalo to Paradise Helicopter pilot Colin Burkardt (the smiley face pilot), who guided us safely over the 2-thousand degree hot liquid rock of the Volcano Goddess Pele… it’s always great to fly with you, Colin! Bruce Omori, special guest Dean Hagedorn, Leilani, Aloha Ducky and I had yet another outstanding charter for our lava overflight update. Another great flight in Paradise! 

LAVA UPDATE! Thursday, February 16, 6:30 am – Kalapana & Pu‘u ‘O‘o overflight

Kilauea’s eruptive activity continues on its east rift zone, as much lava was visible from the vent to the ocean entry. Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s lava pond continues to bubble and circulate, as we were able to get peeks at its occasional spattering beneath the thick gas plume blowing directly over it. The surface flows within 1.5 miles of the vent has ceased, but two major breakouts have occurred in the past week, the first taking place a week ago on Pulama Pali from the main lava tube, spreading and advancing approximately a mile on the coastal plain. The most recent happening on Wednesday afternoon, roughly 1/2 mile above the crest of the pali. Numerous branches of lava were visible, as the flow continues to spread and advance, running somewhat parallel to the previous western edge of 61G. Lava continues to pour into the sea at Kamokuna, still maintaining the “firehose” phenomenon while the shoreline’s cliff continues to erode away, creating a very hazardous condition on the land near the area.

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Best vantage point possible over the new breakout!

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The Kamokuna ocean entry continues to rage on, with the firehose still pouring lava directly into the Pacific Ocean. The shoreline cliff continues to erode away at its base, creating extremely hazardous conditions on land.

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Looking westward and upslope at the source of the breakout. The fresh lava is the shiny surface reflecting the blue sky overhead. The gas plume in the upper left is from Pu‘u ‘O‘o.

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The new breakout above Pulama Pali is sending rivers of lava downslope, running somewhat parallel to the former western edge of 61G.

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The lava pond within Pu‘u ‘O‘o continues to bubble and circulate as a thick plume blew directly over it.

LAVA UPDATE! Thursday, February 9, 6:30 am – Kalapana & Pu‘u ‘O‘o overflight

Eruptive activity continues on Kilauea’s east rift zone, from Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s bubbling lava pond to flow 61G pouring into the Pacific at the Kamokuna ocean entry. Although USGS’ deformation graph indicates that the summit of Kilauea has returned to inflation, activity was a little subdued, as the two surface flows within 1.5 miles of the vent appeared to have stagnated, and the plume at the coast was not as robust as it has been. If inflation continues, volume will more than likely pick up again after this brief lull. Two new skylights opened up and gave us a peek into the fiery depths of the main lava tube!

 

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The firehose continues to shoot lava out into the Pacific Ocean, creating huge littoral explosions. And yes, those are a couple peeps on the right, testing the law of natural selection…

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The lava pond within Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater continues to bubble and circulate, AND amaze!

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Another new opening further downslope is referred to by the pilots as the Darth Vader skylight.

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A fumarole on the floor of Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater vents gases and glows from the heat within.

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A new skylight on the eastern flank of Pu‘u ‘O‘o glows from the heat within the lava tube, silhouetting dangling strands of sulfur crystals.

LAVA UPDATE, Part II – February 3rd

The before images were shot at 7 am, February 2nd, and the after images were shot at 4 pm, February 3rd.

 

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In the before image, the location of the skylight, where steam is rising from the crack, is approximately where the lava is now exiting the tube and free falling into the sea.

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The approximately 15 foot wide x 100 foot long sliver of land seaside of the the skylight in the image on the left is non-existant in the photo on the right.

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Just the tip of the 15 foot x 100 foot sliver of land remains in the photo on the bottom.

LAVA UPDATE! Thursday, February 2, 6:00 am – Kalapana & Pu‘u ‘O‘o overflight

Eruptive activity persists on Kilauea’s east rift zone, from the vent, Pu‘u ‘O‘o, to the Kamokuna ocean entry in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Attention is at a high level at the ocean entry due to extreme instability of the cliff side, as cracks shown in the photos below have been quickly increasing in width, leading to a couple sizable collapses yesterday AFTER our overflight. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to post before & after shots soon. For now, these are images from yesterday morning.

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A view of the fracture and one of the skylights that has formed as a result of an increase in width. Rising steam from the crack is an indication of its depth, extending to near or beyond sea level.

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A view of the crack at the Kamokuna ocean entry. A skylight gives a peek at a portion of the river of lava before it exits the tube and into the sea.

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A lengthy crack had formed at the ocean entry, running parallel to the ocean’s edge, widening over the past few weeks.

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The distal tip of the latest breakout on Pu‘u ‘O‘o’s eastern flank. Still not much more than 1/2 mile from its source.

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A view of Pu‘u ‘O‘o and its lava pond on the right, and trail of rising gases extending to the Kamokuna ocean entry near the top middle of the image.