Monday, September 27, 2010

~ Large surface flow: Thrill & Threat ~

Nine hundred feet west-southwest of the very end of the Kalapana Gardens access road, which is the county viewing area, molten lava broke out of the tube that feeds the ocean entry yesterday morning and has moved in two directions. One direction is west of the fuming lava tubes and has run about three hundred feet southeast. The other has progressed nearly a thousand feet east, somewhat paralleling the access road, and was within about six hundred feet of an occupied home in Kalapana Gardens, as shown above, when I left the area.(The further side of the hot-silvery lava, closer to the home, is also breaking out and had just entered their property and was approaching some owner-established plants).

The easterly surface flow is not too wide, maybe one hundred feet on average. The more westerly flow is sprawling in two directions right now.
This lava is not moving fast but was still breaking out and making progress when I left the area around 8:30 this morning.Above: Hawaii County lava viewing site at the end of the Kalapana access road; and yes there is lava to be seen--- any closer and the viewing area will have to be moved further east up the road. The ocean entry plume is in the distance.

Breakouts are scattered on all sides of the expanding flow and I did notice slow inflation of some portions.

When I arrived in early morning it was still dark and I noticed two other significant changes to the entire lava flow: the ocean entry was greatly subdued, and high atop the Pulama Pali, maybe even as high up as the rootless shield, there was a large surface flow of lava there too; I did not take a picture of it.

By the time I left the ocean entry was picking up strength again.

Another significant observation I made from the access road came around 7:30 AM after a short but heavy rain came across the coastal flats; thick steam was rising in a broad line right up against the Hakuma Horst and very near to the homes just a little east of there by a few hundred feet. This area is still hot from the July flow and I have seen steam there in weeks past, but today the steam was much more pronounced so maybe the tubes in that area are re-inflating somewhat. I also spotted some smoke rising up near the forest where back in late July lava had breached the horst and taken out Fox’s Landing beach beyond.

So all this new lava flowing will be a thrill for the hundreds of visitors that gather daily along the Hawaii County viewing road, but certainly this lava is a serious concern and possible threat to the residents in their homes very close by.

Inflation has also added some of the thrust to all this new activity, though the monitors appear to be indicating a leveling of or even deflation beginning right now:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for braving the lava to give us this thorough report!