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Volcano Overflight: Huge New Lava Outbreak

March 6, 2017, 2:21 PM HST (Updated March 7, 2017, 3:00 PM) · 0 Comments
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A huge new outbreak just above the Pali to the south of the 61g flow is sending many lava streams downslope, reported Tropical Visions Video photographer and videographer Mick Kalber, and the Paradise Helicopters crew after an overflight on Thursday morning, March 2.

“Truly an amazing amount of activity,” Kalber said.

The Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent was once again very difficult to access this morning,” said Kalber. “We got only one obscure glimpse of the steamy lava lake.”

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 Hawai‘i Volcanoes Nationals Park boundary.

The numerous new surface flows both on and above the Pali recently and a few on the coastal flats have taken a good deal of the lava from the ocean entry, but the main flow continues dumping tons of hot rock into the Pacific Ocean.

Skylights are opening and closing daily above and below the Pali. They reveal the lava moving below the surface and feeding the ocean entry and flows on the coastal flats.

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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 freezes it and the concussions shatter it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others add to 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 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park side by walking out the temporary access road, which goes directly to the ocean entry,” said Kalber. “The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed.

To maintain public safety and to extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i opened the emergency road to lava viewing in June 30, 2016.

Vehicular traffic on the emergency road is limited to local residents and emergency vehicles, and is being monitored by security guards posted along the viewing area. The road is unpaved and surrounded on all sides by rough lava flows on private property. Public access is restricted to the graded roadway and viewers are asked to respect private property and the rights of local residents

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reminds visitors to be aware of the following:

  • Viewing area hours are from 3 to 9 p.m. daily, with the last car allowed to park at 9 p.m.
  • It is about 8.5 miles round-trip from end of the pavement on Highway 130 to the ocean entry at Kamokuna and back. The flow can be seen starting from just beyond the parking lot all along the viewing area route.
  • Restroom facilities are limited and lack running water.
  • All members of your party should dress appropriately, with boots or sturdy, covered shoes, long pants and a hat.
  • Be prepared for rain, wind, sun, heat and dust exposure.
  • Bring lots of water (1 to 2 liters per person), there is no potable water available.
  • Bring a flashlight for walking at night.
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