Thursday, October 1, 2009

Waikupanaha Ocean Entry Lava Returns

Molten lava began flowing back through the underground tubes that extend down slope from the actual eruption site, which is six & a half miles above, and directly into the ocean. After dark visitors were witnessing a moderate plume with undulating burst of lava glow and small explosions. A small bench of new land continues to form as the lava spreads out across it.
The other image here is a USGS photo of the Halema`uma`u crater as it appears now.

On the mountainside far above the ocean entry is a broad expanse of lava that recently broke out onto the surface. After dark this looked quite spectacular. I will continue to report on this surface flow; it is the kind of surface flow that can possibly continue down towards the sea and cover up the remnants of highway 130 and the current lava viewing area. But at this time this surface flow is more than four miles upslope and poses no immediate threat.

About five hundred visitors walked out the 3/4 –mile lava path to the controlled viewing area to watch lava entering the ocean.

Meanwhile, up in the Kilauea Caldera in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the 400-foot diameter hole on the Halema`uma`u crater floor(shown in daytime above) has been glowing red & orange after dark. Within the vent, far below the crater floor, there is an undulating pond of broiling molten lava sputtering huge gas bubbles. This pond was recorded Sept. 29th, 2009 by infrared cameras and you can watch a short Quicktime clip here (Allow up to 30-seconds for this to upload)

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