Wednesday, December 1, 2010

~ Coastal eruption lava has ceased ~

After four months of continuous activity, lava effectively ceased flowing into the ocean and coastal flats due to a large surface breakout high atop, and above, the Pulama Pali.

On this mornings USGS/HVO Kilauea status update they had this to say about this unfolding event: Lava from the TEB vent flowed a short distance down slope before coming to the surface in the saddle between two rootless shields at around the 2,000 ft elevation. A few spots of incandescence were recorded by webcam there last night; in addition, persistent MODIS and GOES thermal anomalies suggest at least a low level of continuing activity. HVO geologists will conduct an overflight and inspection of the area tomorrow if the weather is good. In Kalapana, flows and the ocean entries at Puhi-o-Kalaikini delta have stalled.

Above: Looking southeast down the Pulama Pali toward the ocean at about the 1200-foot elevation. Kalapana Gardens homes can be seen on the distant left. Click on the image for a larger size.

The lava fields and tube system will continue to hold molten lava beneath the ground for weeks and months whether they become reenergized with fresh lava or not. In past years we have had complete pauses of lava flowing down the pali tube system for a few days and then suddenly they fire back up to previouse intensity. If the recent rootelss shield tube rupture has completely severed then this scenario is far less likely I would think.

The July Quarry Flow of this year began in late June into early July after the TEB eruptive site fed lava part way towards the top of the Pulama Pali where it re-formed into large mounds that swelled with molten lava, and storing it there. These mounds are termed ‘rootless shield's; rootless meaning not connected to the main magma source or vent, and building up on top of, or near to, an established lava tube system.

I hiked up to the base of that rootless shield area on July 9th , two days after the shields had burst open and sent major rivers of lava part way down the pali, which was the beginning of the lava flow that covered such a large area of coastal flats land, covered roads and surged into the edge of Kalapana Gardens July 17th & 18th, destroyed a home and poured into the ocean July 25th , and claimed a second occupied home last Saturday, November 27th before ending two days later when the rootless shield broke out. (The highlighted text above will link you to my blog posts on those events and images)

It will be very interesting to see what comes next with these big changes to the TEB eruption… Will we get an entirely new surface flow and subsequent new ocean entry? Pele will be the director of all further island building, just as she has done for millions of years right here…
Below: a reposting of the lava glow breakout reflecting molten colors into the gas fumes and low clouds: up around the 2000-foot elevation.


  1. I continue to enjoy reading your blog.

    The USGS's statement about the lava "coming to the surface in the saddle between two rootless shields at around the 2,000 ft elevation" is confusing to me. Is this back above the Royal Gardens subdivision? Any help as to where this is on a map? Thanks

  2. Thanks Leigh, for the perfect photos of the lava flows and the sad end to the home in Kalapana. We ache for Jean, although we don't know her personally, and also Gary. Our house is in Leilani (Zone 1) and I dread the same possible outcome, although that is not keeping us from being permanent in February. I accept the dangers and will not change my mind. Good luck, and now that I've found your blog, I will be a regular reader. (Found you through the HNN link.
    Steve G

  3. @ New Deal dem,

    Yes the shields eruptive zone is above = north of the now lava covered (except for one home) Royal Gardens area. I will try to put together an interactive Google map of my photos and video clips overlaid with this map sometime soon. Meanwhile, take a look at this one HERE and study the elevation lines in relationship to the rest of the terrain; The sheilds are southeast of Pu`u O`o near the 2000-foot elevation.

    @Steve—I too am on the number one rift zone… see ya out here soon it seems ;) & Mahalo

  4. Leigh- sooo glad I stumbled onto your blog while trying to find out about viewing- fabulous blog and incredible dedication- much mahalo! We only get over here for a couple weeks every December from Vancouver Island, and last year was our first time to see the live flow- and now it's all completely changed! We are totally jacked to see what's going on this year. The minor disappointment of not expecting an ocean entry now, has been replaced with anticipation of seeing a land flow. These are selfish thoughts I know, as you folks that are residents here obviously have very real concerns for property and personal safety, so please forgive me if I'm sounding like an ambulance chaser. Again, thanks so much for helping your grateful visitors understand through this amazing blog.

    Scott Littlejohn
    Living Forest Oceanside Campground
    Nanaimo, B.C.