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Volcano Overflight: New Pali Skylights

December 12, 2016, 2:53 PM HST
* Updated December 12, 3:01 PM
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Footage was shot by Mick Kalber, Tropical Visions Video, at 6:30 on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016.

Paradise Helicopters crew with Tropical Visions Video photographer/videographer Mick Kalber conducted a volcano flyover at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8.

Rainy weather upslope prevented Kalber and the crew from accessing the vent, but they were able to document the tip of the new eastern flow, which has branched off from the main channel of the 61g flow near Pu‘u ‘O‘o.

“This mile-long stretch of lava has numerous tongues and toes of lava breaking out periodically, but is, in general, rather sluggish,” said Kalber. “The majority of the lava continues downslope unabated, dumping tons of lava into the Pacific Ocean at Kamokuna just inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.”

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Lava flows through a tube system from the vent approximately six miles to the new lava delta, which continues to expand the Big Island.

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“The lava delta is enormous,” said Kalber, “well over 20 acres large now, even though cracks indicate a collapse may decrease that figure at any time.”

Numerous lobes of lava are pouring into the Pacific Ocean there, creating a huge plume of laze that can be seen for many miles.

“We saw only one tour boat,” said Kalber. “We saw no other visitors on shore watching the creation of the newest land on Earth.

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“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 shatters the flow into bits that are then tumbled into submission. What a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana of HVNP 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.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory cautions visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), that 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.

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.

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.

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