After being postponed by poor visibility over Kilauea’s east rift zone on Thursday, March 16, 2018, the Paradise Helicopters crew was able to get airborne to continue its documentation of the world’s most active volcano.
And, yes, active it was!
Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s lava lake was bubbling in several spots, but their time there was kept at a minimum because of shifting winds.
Roughly one-fourth of a mile from the vent was an impressive breakout spilling lava just east of the 61g tube system. This rupture began on Thursday afternoon, and was still hot while we were in the vicinity.
There were several very large flows within about a half-mile of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent and a number of smaller. Huge plates of hardened pahoehoe lava were floated on several rivers of lava moving through a steamy flow field.
Small nosebleeds were visible on the upper flow field, while the other major hot spot was Pulama Pali.
The western lobe was quite active near the top of the steep hillside, with one long river and several short ones advancing downslope. While the leading edge of this lobe had advanced significantly onto the coastal plain, the crew didn’t observe any additional progress.
A few small breakouts on the flats were present, but nothing notable. And, a couple breakouts over the 61g tube near the bottom of the pali were effusing molten lava as well.