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Kilauea Lava Ocean Entry ‘Huge’

August 19, 2016, 1:49 PM HST
* Updated August 19, 1:54 PM
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The video above was shot by Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video at 5:45 a.m., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.

A Paradise Helicopters flyover on Thursday, Aug. 18, revealed a “huge ocean entry.”

The ocean entry of Kīlauea Volcano’s 61G Lava Flow continues to increase the size of its lava delta at Kamokuna in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The initial entry to the east continues to grow even as the second entry to the west gains momentum.

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“Both entries are quite robust, as numerous fingers of a‘a lava dripped over the coast cliffs and dozens pahoehoe flows entered the water,” said Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video.

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Several pahoehoe outbreaks were noted on the coastal plain, both above and below the access road, which is now crossed by lava in at least three places.

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“A third ocean entry will probably develop over the next day or two,” said Kalber. “Most of the skylights, or windows that allow us to peer inside to see lava flowing below, have closed up now. These tubes are feeding the flows downslope.”

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory also reports that the 61G lava flow is building an increasingly large lava delta at the base of the sea cliff from the National Park Service. Scattered breakouts continue predominantly on the makai portion of the coastal plain and on the pali.

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The Paradise Helcopters crew accessed the Pu‘u ‘O’o Vent and observed a partially obscured lava lake on the west end of the vent.

“We searched for faces in the lava, but saw none,” said Kalber. “To conjure up any images on the lake surface, I’m afraid one would have to connect the dots.”

Visitors continue to access the lava flows by helicopter, boat and on foot via the newly built access road, said Kalber.

Hikers can make the approximately eight-mile roundtrip trek from either the Kalapana or Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park side.

Kalber reported fewer visitors than usually on foot Thursday morning, but several boat tours continue to do a brisk business.

A Warning for Volcano Visitors

The USGS cautions visitors viewing the new ocean entry there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs.

Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea.

Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, USGS Report for Friday, Aug. 19

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from its East Rift Zone. The 61G lava flow continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna and produce scattered breakouts on the coastal plain and pali. The flow poses no threat to nearby communities. The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater continues to be active with its surface about 29.5 m (97 feet) below the crater rim.

Summit Observations: The lava lake within the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook crater remained active and circulating; its surface rose slightly to 29.5 m (97 ft) below the crater rim as measured this morning. Weak inflationary tilt of a summit was measured over the past 72 hours. Seismicity rates were normal, with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering. The average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 1,100 to 4,100 metric tons/day over the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: No significant changes are visible on webcam images, with persistent glow continuing at long-term sources within the crater. Seismicity and tilt records also showed no significant changes in the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 400 metric tons/day when measured on Aug. 10.

1 The width of the Komokuna ocean entry point has grown to include the section between the eastern and western deltas. The full moon sets above the Ka‘u coast in the background. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

The width of the Komokuna ocean entry point has grown to include the section between the eastern and western deltas. The full moon sets above the Ka‘u coast in the background. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

2 The eastern delta continues to grow as multiple fingers of lava enter the sea. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

The eastern delta continues to grow as multiple fingers of lava enter the sea. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

3 The western end of the ocean entry was quite active, with multiple rivers of lava falling over the cliff, adding to the new delta at its base. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

The western end of the ocean entry was quite active, with multiple rivers of lava falling over the cliff, adding to the new delta at its base. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

 4 A peek into the collapse pit within Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater, reveals the still active bubbling lava pond.

A peek into the collapse pit within Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater, reveals the still active bubbling lava pond.

5 A cascading river of lava near the western edge of the Kamokuna ocean entry adds to the delta forming at the base of the sea cliff. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

A cascading river of lava near the western edge of the Kamokuna ocean entry adds to the delta forming at the base of the sea cliff. Photo: Paradise Helicopters flyover, Thursday, Aug. 18.

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