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Volcano Overflight: New Flow Emerges From Vent Atop Tube System

March 13, 2017, 12:23 PM HST (Updated March 13, 2017, 12:28 PM) · 6 Comments
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Footage shot by Mick Kalber at 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, 2017.

The huge outbreaks of the past month on and just above the Pali are now mostly gone, reported Tropical Visions Video photographer and videographer Mick Kalber, and the Paradise Helicopters crew after an overflight on Thursday morning, March 9.

Lava tubes from the 61g flow still feed the ocean entry six miles from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent, but no skylights were observed, said Kalber.

“Even the numerous new surface flows on the coastal flats have now stalled out,” Kalber said. ” A few rivulets of lava remain on the Pali near the remaining forested Kipuka south of the beleaguered Royal Gardens subdivision. However, a new flow has emanated from the vent atop the 61g lava tube system and has now reached about 1.5 miles downslope, approximately halfway to the Pali.”

The new flow remained moderately active this morning sending out small pahoehoe toes at the distal tip.

Although apparently slightly diminished by the recent activity upslope, the main flow continues dumping tons of hot rock into the Pacific Ocean.

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“The fire hose lava event has turned into more of a lava falls than a fire hose,” Kalber said, “but continues to pour lava into the water, creating littoral explosions which rock the coastline. The activity has cut back into the cliff several dozen meters; the cliff remains cracked and dangerously unstable.”

As lava shoots into the cold sea water, it shatters it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others become coastal rocks and form black sand beaches.

The ocean entry remains a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana or Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park 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.

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 on 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 the 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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