East Hawaii News

Upslope Lava Breakout Threatens Possible Overtake

January 5, 2015, 12:46 PM HST
* Updated January 5, 12:50 PM
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As the June 27 lava flow front continues to remain stalled, breakouts upslope from the area threaten the possibility of an overtake and new flow front, according to Hawai’i Volcano Observatory’s Dr. Jim Kauahikaua.

Two breakouts above the current stalled flow front are about 1-1.5 miles upslope from the area. The lower of the two breakouts, approximately 1 mile from the current flow front, advanced about 200 yards since Sunday morning, according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira. The second breakout, further up from the first by about 0.5 miles, is also active and has advanced, although not quite as quickly. Both of the flows are heading in a north bound direction, which is parallel to the highway, and have not shown indication of what path of steepest descent they might take.

In addition to these two breakouts, various activity continues to show along both the north and south margins of the flow.

Location specific descent lines will need to be determined to see if this breakout with quick advancement is headed towards another line of steepest decent or if it might match up with the one that’s headed toward the Pahoa Marketplace.

Dr. Kauahikaua answered questions during Monday’s media briefing about whether or not the breakout that has moved 200 yards in the past 24 hours can become the newest flow front, saying that “it’s possible, yes, that’s the way they usually start. They become another branch fed by the same tube that feeds the original flow, the one headed towards the Pahoa Marketplace.”

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Kauahikaua also made note that activity further downslope could also remain active and pose a threat.

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Oliveria said in the meeting that Railroad Avenue will be closed beginning on Wednesday at 12 p.m. for road maintenance and to preserve the road for if and when it is needed.

“The road would be reopened well in advance of needing it,” Oliveria ensured.

A Pahoa community lava meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pahoa High School cafeteria.

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Civil Defense lava flow map, as of Jan. 5 at 7 a.m. Civil Defense image.

Civil Defense lava flow map, as of Jan. 5 at 7 a.m. Civil Defense image.

Civil Defense lava flow map, as of Jan. 5 at 7 a.m. Civil Defense image.

Civil Defense lava flow map, as of Jan. 5 at 7 a.m. Civil Defense image.

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