Friday, July 16, 2010

Surface lava heading towards highway 130, within 900-feet at 6:30 AM

4:30 AM: Leading edge of lava flow within 900-feet of highway 130 terminus. (Click on any of these images for a larger view size)

Above photo: This section of the road looked to me to be the location where the leading front of this most easterly portion of our present lava will be flowing within the next 24-hours; closing in on the very end of highway 130, which is currently the Civil Defense Hawaii County public lava-viewing site. If the flowing lava does cover this end of the road it will also be entering a large kipuka forest, as well as possibly cut off all access to a side road that leads to one local residence and a State road branch often used by local fishermen.

We should know what this lava will do there at the road by tonight and tomorrow morning. Inflation has just now begun after a couple days of deflation- and if it continues pressurizing we could see a surge of more lava within the entire coastal lava flow by late tonight. Click on the linked word above for more information on the monitors.

Below are some more of the photos I took between 4:00 AM and 6:30 AM today showing the overall situation with the leading edge of surface lava near Kalapana Gardens.

Active lava viewing prospects for the public:
#1) Coastal viewing: Hundreds of visitors seeking to witness lava activity have been arriving daily at the Hawaii County Kalapana viewing area. The viewing area is essentially the last mile of paved road on highway 130; the end of which is the same location where lava came onto the highway on May 5th, 2010 and the current lava flow appears about to overtake. A 1-mile walk down the road gives views of the lava fuming/degassing where it is coming down the distant pali during the day. After dark, lava glow from the leading edge of this active flow can easily be seen from the road at various points, and could be on, or very near, this end of the road later tonight or tomorrow. There would be a possibility that Civil Defense could close more of the viewing area if molten lava does enter the road or set the adjacent forest ablaze there, which would pose some safety hazards.

Official viewing hours are from 2:00 PM until around 9:30 PM - everyday, with last car allowed in at 8:00 PM. On site are security personnel and a few port-o-potties at both the parking lot and at the end of the road. Vendors occasionally have drinking water and flashlights but it is best to bring both these things with you and also some decent walking shoes. This end of highway 130 is open to all traffic on all other hours.

2) The Halema’uma’u crater has been degassing sulfur dioxide fumes by day and glowing strongly at times after dark from lava deep within the craters pit vent. The broiling molten lava moves up and down inside this massive eruptive vent by a hundred feet at times, in kind of a pistoning action. This raising and lowering of lava has the potential to breach the floor of the crater and might do so in the future. Great views of this impressive crater are from the Jaggar Museum balcony within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, depending on the weather; and the park is open to the public 24 hours a day with a nominal entrance fee by day.

Read yesterday's posting for a complete update of this July lava flow


  1. Leigh,

    We will be arriving next Saturday, the 24th. We have not been to the Big Island before so are unclear on one point. Do the CD personnel allow the public to walk off the road to get nearer to the actual flows? Your photos would seem to suggest yes. If the road is overcome, I understand that the public area will need to be relocated, but just how close do they allow public access?

  2. Hi Steve,
    No the CD officials do not allow the public to walk beyond any designated boundaries they establish. Photos I am taking and sharing on here are done so by a long established clearance I obtained. The public viewing area is being relocated by the hour at the moment, so by the time you arrive on the 24th many things will have changes as far as viewing goes. I am sure there will be some god opportunities to view lava in the days ahead,