Monday, February 15, 2010

NOTE added Feb. 16th {Halema’uma’u glowing strong after dark ~ Royal Gardens lava flow continues towards ocean

EDIT NOTE: I will only post updates when active lava conditions substantially change from the current posting, or if some other noteworthy event takes place. So for February 16th the following information is still appropriate today/tonight:
(Click on these images for a larger size)

Despite an obscuring mist wafting across the crater, there were moments of good views of an undulating strong glow of molten lava reflecting up into the sulfur dioxide plume at Halema’uma’u last night. I took these two photos around 10:30 PM from the Jaggar Museum balcony overlook.

Meanwhile down on the coastal lava fields near Kalapana, lava continues it’s long flow down the pali and onto flatter ground on its way towards the ocean. The after dark scenes from Hawaii County viewing area are still possible, but are greatly diminished from last weeks bright line of lava that I reported on.

This reduction in glow intensity does not mean the lava is no longer there – it indicates it is crusting over and becoming hidden within self-created lava tubes along the way. Another factor in the diminished glow is the strong deflation taking place the past few days. Deflation has ended and pressures are beginning a return to the volcano, which are bringing enhanced glow at Kilauea and will strengthen surface flows in the days just ahead.

For an excellent view of what the current surface flow of lava is really doing, click on each of the three image links below from February 12th, 2010:
USGS Aerial of Royal Gardens surface flow facing north

USGS Aerial of Royal Gardens surface flow facing southwest toward the ocean

-And USGS Aerial of Royal Gardens surface flow closer overtop

Visitor suggestion:
If you have not witnessed the Halema’uma’u Crater after dark I highly recommend checking it out this week. If you have the time, and have not yet seen the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park in the daytime, I would suggest going there in the day and exploring the area; visit the information center, arts center and Jaggar Museum for sure. Then wait until dark at the Jaggar to possibly see fiery views of what Hawaiian’s consider to be the volcano goddess Pele’s Home.

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