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Photo of the Week: Pele’s Ring

April 5, 2017, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated April 6, 7:34 AM
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This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

“I was at my cabin in Kalapana Vacation Lots on the old lava flow working on my computer with my second cup of coffee, when I noticed a strange formation of steam drifting above the steam plume at the lava ocean entry point at Kamokuna,” said Fisher. “The steam plume often reaches thousands of feet into the air. But I watched it for at least 30 seconds this morning, until I could tell that it was a ring, so I quickly fumbled to get my camera.”

Fisher fetched his Canon camera with a 200mm lens.

“I was lucky to get a few photos of it before it drifted upwards and dissipated,” said Fisher. “Because I am 4 miles away from the Kamokuna ocean entry, I can only guess that this steam-ring—a torus-shaped vortex—was hundreds of feet across. A helicopter would have looked like a tiny speck dust next to it.”

The lava that flows into the Pacific at Kamokuna comes from the 61g lava flow from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone.

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Fisher’s cabin sits in a subdivision that was covered entirely by lava in the early 1990s.

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“It has come close again since,” said Fisher.

“Between the plumes of steam—sometimes reaching a thousand feet high—the glow from lava at night and steam and volcanic gasses always leaking from the lava, I couldn’t ask for a more interesting and exciting home. It simply never gets old!”

This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

This photo series was taken by Kalapana resident Joe Fisher at 11:25 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

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