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Overflight Video: ‘Crystal Clear Lava’

June 19, 2018, 7:43 AM HST
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Videographer Mick Kalber released this video of an overflight of the East Rift Zone he took with Paradise Helicopters on Monday, June 18, 2018.

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Kalber stated:

A gorgeous morning over East Hawai‘i allowed for a spectacular view of the Leilani flow field.

Fissure 8 is changing shape, but continuing to pump out a remarkable volume of lava. Much of the fountaining activity is now confined within the nearly 200-foot-high cinder cone Pele [the volcano goddess] has built around her fountaining. Her fountains of fire feed enormous rivers that transport the molten rock to the Pacific Ocean in Kapoho.

Tons of lava is entering the water there and a billowing plume emanates from the water’s surface. That entry point at the western end of what was once Vacationland is pretty much the only active lava entering the ocean now. There are also several large hot tide pools steaming in the flow field that filled Kapoho Bay. Homes on the north end of the Beach Lots are still in danger, although the lava seems to have stalled there for the most part.

Fissure 8 is now really the only active vent of Kīlauea’s Leilani Estates eruption, which is now in its seventh week, although there has been a bit of renewed activity observed at Fissure 6 just upslope from the PGV plant.

The other twenty some-odd fissures are smoking, steaming and glowing, but not erupting, while Fissure 8, almost dead center in the middle of the beleaguered subdivision, continues to send 6 to 9 million cubic yards of lava a day flowing toward the Pacific Ocean.

Pele continues creating new land off the eastern coast of the Big Island. The ocean entry is sending Pele’s enormous rivers of lava plunging into the cool Pacific Ocean, releasing a steam cloud of laze drifting southward. She is making only a little progress toward the Ahalanui Hot Ponds two miles south, but not much, and is only creeping in and around the remaining houses of Kapoho Beach Lots and ag lots structures to the north.

Nearly all of Pele’s lava is contained, channeled down a series of huge rivers from Fissure 8, through Leilani Estates and down the 8 miles to Kapoho.

The eruption began seven weeks ago in the lower part of Leilani Estates. More than two dozen fissures have oozed, spattered, or jetted lava over the past seven weeks. The activity is finally settling down at Fissure 8.

Earlier last week, Pele incinerated nearly 300 homes and structures in the Vacationland/Kapoho Beach Lots communities of lower Puna, and although estimates vary, she has now consumed 600 to 700 structures, or more.

Lava that is not is sent downslope and into the ocean, is mostly being stored in a “perched pond” at the bottom of the subdivision. Although scientists say they don’t believe it will happen, if the wall of the pond is breached, enormous flows could threaten several more places in East Hawai‘i.

The ocean entry is again creating a huge plume of steam and laze (volcanic smog), indicating a great deal of lava is entering the water, and new land is slowly forming off the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i.

Remarkably, even though nearly completely surrounded by previous lava flows, the PGV geothermal plant still stands below the Leilani Estates subdivision.

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