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Volcano Overflight: Cracked Cliff Remains Dangerously Unstable

March 20, 2017, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated March 20, 1:21 PM
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Celtic Tune from NASHVILLE SESSIONS courtesy Jake Shimabukuro

“The lake was particularly active today—Pele’s hot liquid rock bubbling, churning, stretching and folding,” reported Tropical Visions Video photographer and videographer Mick Kalber, and the Paradise Helicopters crew after an overflight on Thursday morning, March 17.

Most of the downslope activity is now part of an outbreak that emanated from just below the vent last week, the crew reported. It flows atop the 61g lava tube system and has now reached about 1.5 miles downslope, approximately half way to the Pali.

It remained moderately active this morning, sending out small pahoehoe toes at the distal tip. The huge outbreaks of the past month on, and just above the Pali are now mostly gone, but 61g’s lava tubes still feed the ocean entry six miles from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent, but no skylights were observed. A few surface flows on the coastal flats remain active, but are sluggish at best.

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The main flow continues dumping tons of hot rock into the Pacific Ocean. The ocean entry continues to pour lava into the water, creating littoral explosions which rock the coastline.

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The activity has cut back into the cliff several dozen meters. The cliff remains cracked and dangerously unstable.

Most of the activity is hidden from view of the overlook to the east.

As  lava shoots into the cold sea water, it into fragments which sink to the depths of the sea or become the coastal rocks that form black sand beaches.

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