Saturday, October 24, 2009

Molten Lava Crosses Highway 130 – Visitors Allowed to Witness

The photos above were taken yesterday, October 23rd, 2009 (click on them for a larger image)

Not since March of 2008 has the remnants of Highway 130, near Kalapana, felt the intense heat of active pahoehoe lava. All day and into the evening visitors and locals were allowed to safely gather next to the last paved section of the original road as molten lava slowly and dramatically overtook it. The highway used to continue along the coast connecting to Chain of Craters Road within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and was first severed by lava flows in 1986, having been closed ever since.

Lava entering the ocean at nearby Waikupanaha was explosive; sending showers of sparks high into the air at times; a spectacular show after dark. Eruption fissures further up the mountain near the Pu`u O`o crater have been pumping extra molten lava down slope through a network of lava tubes and surface breakouts for the past two weeks. This is due to magma pressure and volume remaining fairly constant as registered by sensitive USGS sensors placed around Pu'u O'o and Halema'uma'u Crater’s.

Cloudless skies and muggy air as the day dawned here on the southeast side of the Big Island.

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