Hawai'i Volcano Blog

Volcano Overflights: Laze & ‘Spectacular’ Ocean Entry

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Music for the video courtesy of Jake Shimabukuro: “Tritone” from the album “Nashville Sessions.”

Paradise Helicopters crew with Tropical Visions Video’s photographer/videographer Mick Kalber conducted a volcano flyover at 6 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2016

Rain prevented the crew from visiting the 61g lava flow—except the ocean entry.

“Fortunately, it was quite spectacular!” said Kalber. “All activity is still confined to the Kalapana (eastern) lava delta. The western entry died out about a month ago. Numerous lobes of lava are pouring into the Pacific Ocean there, creating a huge plume of laze, a hydrochloric acid mist formed by the action of lava on seawater that can be seen for many miles.”


Two small boats were on hand, but only a handful of visitors braved the soggy weather to see the creation of the news land on earth, Kalber reported.

A few hikers were seen in the area of the skylight about .25 miles above the road. There, the hot molten rock makes it’s way beneath the surface and into the Pacific Ocean. Several cracks expose hot liquid rock coursing below.

“Volcano Goddess Pele continues to form new black sand beaches along the coast near her ocean entries,” said Kalber.

“The hot lava’s interaction with the cold seawater shattering the flow into bits that are then tumbled into submission,” said Kalber. “What a magnificent sight for visitors both from the tour boats and cliffs nearby!



As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), 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. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff.

Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, 8:44 a.m.


Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone. The summit lava lake surface remains high and was about 48 feet below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater yesterday afternoon. The 61g lava flow continues to enter the sea at Kamokuna, posing no threat to nearby communities.

Summit Observations: Tiltmeters at Kīlauea’s have recorded slight inflation over the past day. When last measured directly late yesterday afternoon, the lake surface was about 48 feet below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Overnight, there was little change in lake level. Spattering continues intermittently from various locations along the margins of the lake.

Seismicity is within normal, background rates. Tremor amplitude continues to fluctuate as vigor of lava lake spattering waxes and wanes. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates ranged from about 3,100 to 6,800 metric tons/day during the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Occasional clear webcam images over the past day, show persistent glow at long-term sources within the crater. There were no significant changes in seismicity over the past 24 hours. The tiltmeter on Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone recorded slight deflation over the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 290 metric tons/day when last measured on Oct. 28.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61g lava flow extending southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s south flank continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Activity is presently concentrated along the front of the east lava delta. Small collapses were reported by National Park Service staff earlier this week. On Thursday, aerial observations of prominent cracks on the surface of the east delta suggest instability and thus an increased potential for larger collapse events.


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