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Hawai‘i Volcano Overflight: Huge Plates of Lava

March 13, 2018, 10:09 AM HST
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March 8, 2018 Big Spillway Flow

Chilly air and overcast skies were prevalent during our overflight, but no rain appeared, said the Paradise Helicopters’ crew.

“After the several week stretch of rain, not having to constantly wipe our lenses was definitely nice!” they said. “Ambient air temperature of 50 degrees, plus a windchill from flying over 130 mph made getting over the toasty lava fields feel really good,” the crew said.

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Stiff winds blowing out of the west made for a tough approach to the vent, but Paradise was able to sneak a peek into Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s lava lake, spotting just a couple spots of activity,

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“We flew down slope less than a mile to a sizable, vigorous breakout,” the crew said. “By the appearance of the crusting, it probably was an hour or two old, and had spread over a wide area.”

Huge plates of hardened pahoehoe floated on a river of lava that snaked its way several hundred yards downslope.

Another large breakout that occurred the previous afternoon about a quarter of a mile further downslope was still advancing, but at a slow rate.

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A few sporadic nosebleeds were also visible on the upper flow field.

And, as it has been over the past few weeks, rivers of lava were present on Pulama Pali, with the western lobe making the most forward progress onto the coastal plain.

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