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Volcano Overflight: Lava Firehose Continues!

February 14, 2017, 1:56 PM HST (Updated February 14, 2017, 1:59 PM) · 6 Comments
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The firehose lava at the ocean entry was very visible on Thursday, Feb. 9, affording Tropical Visions Video photographer and videographer Mick Kalber, and the Paradise Helicopters crew its best shots since it began last New Year’s Eve.

The main flow continues unabated, dumping between one and two million gallons of hot rock into the Pacific Ocean every hour. The ocean entry is still located at Kamokuna just inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Several recent collapses have lopped off sizable portions of the bench and sea cliff at the entry area.

The long-lived firehose lava stream continues to send tons of hot molten lava into the cold seawater, cooling the lava and causing littoral explosions, which shatter it into fragments.

Some of the fragments sink to the depths of the sea, while others find a home on coastal rocks, where they will contribute to the formation of black sand beaches.

“We were able to access the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent this morning as well, despite the rainy conditions,” said Kalber. The lava lake inside the vent remains active. Several skylights have opened up above the 61g lava tube system on the upper flow field.

The lava lake inside the vent remains active, Kalber noted. Several skylights have opened up above the 61g lava tube system on the upper flow field. These breaks in the surface reveal the ongoing 61g flow as it makes it’s way some six miles from the vent to the Pacific Ocean.

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“The two recent flows on top of the tube system and just to the northeast of 61g appear to have dried up, as we could locate no active surface flows this morning,” Kalber said.

“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,” Kalber said.

“The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed.

To reach the new lava viewing area within HVNP from the east (Kalapana-side), visitors must hike about 4.2 miles one way along the gravel emergency access road. This entrance is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. From the park, or west side, visitors can hike out from the Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road, about five miles one-way. About one mile of the hike goes inlandof the gas plume over hardened, uneven lava flows. The park entrance is open 24 hours a day.

Hikers need to be prepared for a long trek. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions. Carry plenty of water (three to four quart/liters per person). Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlight with extra batteries.

Download hiking tips here.

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