Hawaii Volcano Blog

Hawai‘i Volcano Overflight: Puʻu ʻŌʻō Exudes ‘Nasty Fumes’

February 12, 2018, 11:14 AM HST
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Video music, Galloping Seahorses, by Jake Shimabukuro from his album NASHVILLE SESSIONS, JS Records

A crystal clear day on the 61g lava flow field on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, revealed new surface lava activity in the last substantial kīpuka of trees just above the Pali, said Paradise Helicopters’ photographer and videographer Mick Kalber.

“Several streams of pahoehoe, ending in a‘a on the Pali itself and a magnificent flow upslope kept us busy this morning,” said Kalber. “And we were able to access Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s lava lake, albeit briefly, as nasty fumes chased us away.”

Kīlauea, the youngest and most active volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i, has erupted almost continuously since Jan. 3, 1983, at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, a volcanic cone, and other vents along the volcano’s East Rift Zone. In 2008, a new vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the volcano’s summit, which hosts an active lava lake. About 90% of the volcano is covered with lava flows less than 1,100 years in age.

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There are two major types of lava flows, referred to around the world by their Hawaiian names: pahoehoe, a more fluid flow with a smooth to ropy surface; and a‘a, a more viscous flow with a surface covered by thick, jumbled piles of loose, sharp blocks.

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Both types have the same chemical composition; the difference seems to be in the eruptive temperature and the speed of movement of the flow.

As much as 99% of Hawai‘i Island is composed of a‘a and pahoehoe flows.

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