(Click on any images for a larger view size)
Above is a rough map with my added notes of the present lava situation (May 4th, 2010) on the coast of the Big Island. The aerial photo is from the April 28th, 2010 USGS image site.
Click on this link for a complete blog summary of this entire April, 2010 surface flow of lava; from mountain to sea: (scroll to the bottom and read each post running up for a chronological timeline)
And my most recent days postings for May, 2010
I will keep this as my main posting update layout in the coming days, adding new headings and images as lava events warrant.
Future viewing options:
We now have an established lava flow running through newly forming lava tubes from the eruption sites high on the mountain near Pu`u O`o all the way to the ocean. This seems to, so far, be a pretty strongly supplied lava system and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. We might have a nice ongoing ocean entry to watch for some time.
I assume the coastal public viewing area will reopen for the public as soon as the red-hot lava that lies very close to the older viewing trail cools a bit more. Civil Defense will ultimately make that call. But do to the close proximity of the ocean entry to that coastal viewing area, there may be a legitimate concern with having large numbers of people that close to it because as this entry grows more robust and has more toxic emissions (Hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide and thick glass ash) the prevailing wind direction could shift abruptly and place viewers in an unsafe-to-breath situation, and a narrow escape route back up the trail.
High on the slopes above the present County lava viewing area, and part way down the Pulama Pali, a very broad and very hot new surface flow is growing and moving south-southeasterly downhill. This new flow has the potential for some serious distributions onto the coastal flats in the days and weeks ahead. Watch and wait.