Monday, August 9, 2010

~ July – August eruption lava flow remains charged ~ Lava-heated mangos ~

Lava report:
Ocean entry lava flows have slowed down a little in the past 24-hours. The easterly expansion of shoreline lava near Fox’s Landing has nearly ceased advancing and the westerly most ocean entries have appeared to have also backed off production. This worries me. Inflation pressures beneath Kilauea have not subsided, which usually would indicate a continuation of lava pressures throughout the entire eruptive zones… So if the ocean entries are slowing down then where is that pressurized lava going ??

Possibly the lava is breaking out above the pali or somewhere along the tube system but I have heard no reports of that today - at least anything substantial … The next likely place would be within the coastal flats itself; a swelling, or inflation, of lava beneath the massive area of crusted lava that has been insulating this flow for weeks now. Such an inflation of the coastal plain lava would eventually bust out somewhere, and being that a large section of the flats are adjacent to Kalapana Gardens homes, that is where my concern lies.
The story of eating lava-heated mangos:Three weeks ago, July 19th, I had walked the advancing lava flow front just southwest of Kalapana Gardens. Molten lava was covering a large flat plateau of terrain covered in thick brush and long-abandoned mango forests; an area rich with a past history of human settlement.
As lava advanced across this old plantation area, lava-ignited brush fires raced ahead, scorching the landscape to black soot but often sparing the trees.

Lava followed the path of the scorched earth and slowly charred the trees bases - decimating those remaining, many of which were large old mangos that were dropping their last fruit for the season the day I hiked the area.

I came upon one grandmother mango whose base was still being slowly burned into by lava wrapped part way around and whose large overhanging limbs held ripe mangos right above hot cooling lava.

Some ripe mangos had recently dropped onto the hot-crusted lava and looked good enough to eat…It was a very hot day and degassing lava and smoked filled the air so I was wearing my respirator much of the time - and I had neglected to carry enough water; not a good combination. So when I spotted these little gems of fruit here and there on the lava I just had to try eating one. I picked one up and it was quite warm. I inspected it for fruit flies, but there were zero flies in this fuming lava zone anyway – I peeled back the reddish-yellow skin of this mango and steam wafted out and I took a bite--- Unbelievably delicious !!!

I ate that mango quickly and picked up another, consuming it as fast as I could – then another and another… I gathered a handful more and sat beneath the grandmother tree that had given me her last fruit of her long life, and while thanking her I must have eaten eight mangos — all lava heated. My face and hands were dripping with mango juice and I felt like a kid who got to eat all the sweets he wanted at the country fair…

Many local people knew of these hidden mangos there on the old homestead flat lands, some sharing with me their sadness at losing these great fruit producing trees.

But I shall forever cherish my sweet time beneath Grandmother Mango ~~

~~ New photos:
Click on the highlighted text to open my new online photography gallery of July through August lava flow images. (No mango tree pictures though ;)

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