Hawai‘i Volcano Overflight: Tremendous Surge of Lava

February 23, 2018, 8:03 AM HST (Updated February 26, 2018, 9:32 AM)
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Paradise Helicopters’ flight was pushed up a couple days earlier this week.

On the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, a cloud layer over Puʻu ʻŌʻō obscured surroundings at the vent, but the crew could see the lava lake bubbling from several spots on its surface… and its shape seems to be evolving, as the eastern wall had a partial collapse, and there’s a formation growing along the base of its western wall

The collapse of nearly the entire east wall of the lava lake within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent was overshadowed by many lava flows on the Pali.

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“We’ve seen numerous breakouts to the east, pretty much on top of the 61g flow’s original path to the sea,” said Paradise Helicopters’ photographer and videographer Mick Kalber. “But today, a tremendous surge of lava a half-mile to the west sent hot liquid rock surging downslope.”

It has been about six months since lava stopped entering the Pacific Ocean at Kamokuna.

“But we saw so much lava on this western portion, we began wondering if Pele might make a push for the ocean from there, in spite of the fact that the many breakouts we’ve seen on and around the Pali have all died out rather quickly,” said Kalber.

Downslope, the upper flow field had small nosebleed breakouts, but the majority of action has moved to Pulama Pali, with multiple rivers of lava flowing down the steep hillside. Both the eastern and western lobes were very active.

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