Monday, February 8, 2010

Increased activity down the pali ~ Unidentified object in sky over lava flow

(Click on image for a larger size)

Above is a comparison of the surface flow of lava coming down the pali on the night-before-last and last night; as viewed from the Hawaii County viewing area trailhead. Last night’s line of lava flowing down the pali was much brighter than the previous night; likely do to the increased magma inflation below the Kilauea volcano over the past two days.

Okay, now on to the other photo I took last night (below)… I took only two photos of the pali surface flow last night, and only a couple minutes apart: This one below is the first of the two, and when I got home and reviewed them I immediately saw his very odd aberration in the sky above the burning forest and rivers of molten lava… and I continue to be puzzled as to what it actually is and/or, what caused it. If you have any ideas I would love to hear from you! (Click on image for a larger size)

Below is the current deformation monitor graphs showing continued inflation at both Halema’uma’u & Pu`u O`o craters.

Summary and projection:

Molten lava has been flowing for several miles down the mountainside for the past week or more, and has become much more active and visible after nightfall. The lava is a mix of pahoehoe and A`a and is also burning all vegetation along its path, terminating onto the coastal lava plain below the pali (cliffs). Field reports confirm the lava is slowly proceeding onto the coastal plain.

Views of the lava down the pali can be seen from the last mile of highway 130 near Kalapana, as well as within the Hawaii County lava viewing designated area. (The County is completing a new view trail and viewing area this week. This area will have a good vantage point for the current flow).

Halema’uma’u crater pit vent has been glowing after dark and can be viewed from the Jaggar Museum lanai all night. Sulfur dioxide fumes pushed by changing winds can sometimes ruin the outlook view, and are not good to be breathing.

The UGS/HVO deformation monitor graphs above are demonstrating a slowing or even a possible reversal of the last two days of inflation. In the past, a switch to deflation has reduced the Halema’uma’u after-dark glow, as well as reducing the intensity of the visible lava on the pali. This lessening of lava movement & volume sometimes takes a few days to be pronounced on the pali surface flows.

So if you are wanting to witness either of these molten lava events, tonight and tomorrow might be better than the days to follow – IF – deflation of magma returns, which is not quite known yet. (If you are reading this late in the day or on the 9th, then click on the deformation link above for a refreshed look at the graphs).

If visiting the coastal lava viewing area, bring binoculars if you can.


  1. Hi,
    Looks like a small "mushroom" style cloud caused by the rising heat. I would guess that it was caused by the hot spot below and to the right.

  2. I like that answer! - Mahalo Daves~~