Volcano Overflight: New Surface Flows, Ongoing Lava Firehose

February 20, 2017, 3:58 PM HST (Updated March 6, 2017, 2:08 PM)
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An active lava lake inside the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent continues, reported Tropical Visions Video photographer and videographer Mick Kalber, and the Paradise Helicopters crew after an overflight on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6 a.m.

The vent is a clearing house for lava traveling six miles downslope and entering the ocean, with a great volume of lava in a single fire hose lava stream at Kamokuna, just inside the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s boundary.

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    “All of this has been going on for quite some time… but developments over the past week are a veritable plethora of new surface flows both on the coastal plain, as well as a short distance above the top of the Pali,” said Kalber.

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    “These breakouts are by far the most surface lava we’ve seen since the first couple months of the 61g flow and they were spectacular!” Kalber added.

    The firehose lava at the ocean entry was largely obscured when the crew visit, but littoral explosions continue to rock the coastline, which remains cracked and dangerously unstable.

    Several recent collapses have lopped off sizable portions of the bench and sea cliff at the entry area.

    The long-lived firehose lava stream shoots tons of hot molten lava into the cold sea water, causing littoral explosions. The cold sea water in turn solidifies the lava and the concussions shatter it into fragments.

    Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others form black sand beaches.

    The walk to the Kamokuna ocean entry is lengthy; 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 in 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 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.

    Our goal is to maintain public safety, protect the interests of Kalapana residents, and extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130. We ask for your patience and kokua (help).

    Best vantage point possible over the new breakout. ExtremeExposure photo, Feb. 16, 2017.

    The Kamokuna ocean entry continues to rage on, with the firehose still pouring lava directly into the Pacific Ocean. The shoreline cliff continues to erode away at its base creating extremely hazardous conditions on land. ExtremeExposure photo.

    The lava pond within Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues to bubble and circulate as a thick plume blew directly over it. ExtremeExposure photo.

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