Monday, July 19, 2010

Lava close but not to the sea ~ Deflation slows advance

(Click on any image to view a larger size)

Visitors walk down highway 130 past houses that are very near to the lava flow in Kalapana Gardens on their way to see molten lava and burning forests.

Viewing area along the end of highway 130

USGS D/I-Deflation/Inflation monitors on the caldera are recording deflation for the second straight day. This usually equates on the surface as a loss in pressure, reducing the volume and speed of surface flows. I expect this is why the coastal flats lava flow has slowed way down. In the previous three days this flow was advancing across the coastal plain at a rate of about 1000-feet per day, but currently 1/3 of that rate or less.
The area where the lava may enter the sea later today or tonight is fairly remote and well southwest of any roads or homes. There continues to be a threat of lava coming closer to Kalapana Gardens homes from two sources: from a possible easterly expansion of the present flow, which is currently just west of them now, or from high on the pali where lava continues breaking out along the eastern flow line.

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