Tuesday, September 28, 2010

~ Viewing area surface flow continues but slowed down ~

Ocean entry lava at 5:36 this morning

Last night many people walked out the Hawaii County lava viewing access road and were treated to some small but visible lava breakouts just below the road, as well as a nice ocean entry plume that glowed orange-red as darkness came on.

The surface flows had slowed considerably from the day before. Overnight they nearly stagnated but had progressed about 180 feet further in 24-hours. Lava actively began breaking out again by 7:00 AM this morning: flowing just southeast of the access road, slowly filling in low areas.

Hawaii Island has had remarkably consistent NE Trade Winds all summer, with some periods of more easterly breezes. I mention this because it is these winds that keep both the Halema’uma’u sulphur dioxide plume and the toxic ocean entry steam plume wafting away from human settlements near these eruption sites. When the winds shift around and push in from the south or southwest then Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and residents in Kalapana Gardens are most effected by the nauseous fumes - locally dubbed ‘vog or laze’ -; as well as all communities downwind, including neighbor islands.

Yesterday we had a brief few hours when the light winds did turn more southerly and were recorded on a cool little National Parks Service current sulphur dioxide conditions site. It records the air quality for two main areas in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and shows by the hour the wind direction and the levels of SO2.

Below is the record for mid-day yesterday:

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