Friday, May 28, 2010

Diminished coastal lava going into the ocean – may be blocked above the pali

In today’s USGS/HVO updates an event possibly affecting the coastal lava flow was observed: “Yesterday, HVO geologists found that a small shield was being built at the original breakout point around 1,900' elevation and that a decreased amount of lava was continuing through the tubes to the coast.

We have been wondering what was causing the ocean entry lava to be reduced the past few days, perhaps the shield being built near the TEB eruption east of Pu`u O`o crater site is blocking or diverting lava there, or that surface flow breakouts above the pali are diverting lava away from the coastal-headed plumbing system; or both.

Below are two photos taken this morning by field researcher Ron Boyle, the pictures and Ron’s comment sent with them support the diminished ocean entry lava conditions:
Ron reports this hot fatigue fracture crack is red down inside it before daylight, and that only one ocean entry point is presently flowing near the middle of the new entry areas and it is an A`a type of lava, as opposed to the vast volumes of pahoehoe that have been pouring into the sea along the coast there.

Meanwhile, visitor count to the Hawaii County lava viewing area continues to drop from the average of 1300 per day to less than 400. This would be largly due to three factors: 1) There is really no viewing area; it consists of a blocked-off end of highway 130 and has very little view of the extensive new & warm coastal flats or ocean entry, and 2) The State/County never did relocate the parking back down to roads end and requiring visitors to have to walk a mile to, and a mile from, the meager ‘viewing area’. 3) Visible lava activity is greatly reduced from a week ago as the April-May lava flow has established itself underground and has also diminished in volume into the sea.

I have finished a feature length movie of the April through May 2010 coastal lava flow and am now making the DVD covers and movie trailer -- there are some awesome scenes in this movie and I look forward to making the DVD available to everyone soon ;). The making of this documentary has left me limited time to gather firsthand field reports for this blog.


Active lava viewing prospects:
1) The Halema’uma’u crater has been degassing sulfur dioxide fumes by day and glowing strongly at times after dark from lava deep within the craters pit vent. Great views are from the Jaggar Museum within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, depending on the weather & wind, and the park is open to the public 24 hours a day.

2) Coastal viewing: Limited to views from highway 130 near Kalapana Gardens homes.
Official viewing hours are from 2:00 PM until around 9:00 PM.


Previous information:

The USGS/HVO has posted some excellent thermal images overlaid with aerial photos, which, when combined, offer a true picture of just how massive and extended this flow has become. I have posted the images above but you can see their originals with informative & descriptive captions here

Below are my most recent updates, which I believe are still valid today:
May 24, 2010: More Deflation/Inflation under the volcano ~ Coastal lava flow map ~ New surface flow

An updated field flow map below, painstakingly surveyed and charted by the USGS, can also be opened on their map update site, which also has many other charts and interesting information.

Deflation/Inflation (D/I) pressure swings beneath Kilauea Volcano are being registered by USGS/HVO tilt monitors; these are some of the wildest short-term variances the magma chambers have gone through in some time. Makes me wonder if Pele has some new plans in the works for the eruption.

The past two days I have been working on my new video of the April-May lava flow and not out on the lava flow. Reports from those who have been are saying there is a new surface flow breaking out high above the coastal pali, and also a possible new surface flow west of the present entry points.


Below is the timeline links to my posts for this April-May flow:
And my most recent days postings for May, 2010

I will add new update blog postings when lava events or viewing options significantly change.

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