Monday, January 24, 2011

~ Aftermath as lava continues moving and inflating near Kalapana Gardens ~

Molten lava continues inflating and breaking out on the surface near the sad and grim remains of a home and property lost to lava January 18th this month.

Here we can see the extent of lava inflation below the homes metal framed ribs – a disturbing aftermath revealing the all-destructive potential of advancing lava. Lava is still molten beneath the new layers.

In my last update I posted the photo below a few days ago showing lava pouring between two metal posts that recently were the entrance to Keone lane, which led into several properties, one of them being the home that was destroyed by lava. The photo below I took this morning and we can now see only the top of one of the posts, the inflating lava has risen that much.

Below: That barbecue I showed in my last post remains embedded on top of the inflated lava just off the end of the highway and the County Lava Viewing Site. Kalapana Gardens homes are perched along the horizon.

Lava continues actively breaking out from the inflating mounds and is filling low areas:

I could not see any pronounced steam from where lava might be entering the sea at either of the two weak entries of a few days ago; just a few brush fires near to the coast.


  1. Leigh, the photos are fantastic! How do you walk on the flows without falling through to the molten stuff below? Does it dry and harden that quickly? What keeps the lava from melting the BBQ, lane posts and frame of the house, while taking everything else?
    Thanks for the updates!

  2. It is amazing how much the lava inflates, adding not only area to the region, but height to its landforms, as it continues to pour out of the earth's molten core.

  3. Thanks to you both ;)

    Yes the lava hardens immediately as the air hits it. Care needs to be taken walking the newly cooling lava... boot soles can melt, lava plates can break open...

    As the molten lava touches object it either burns them up, covers them or lifts them up where they can ride higher and higher as the molten lava below inflates. Metal does not get hot enough to burn from lava. The posts were fixed into the ground so could not float up. The barbecue was not. It was setting next to the signs days ago—the lava picked it up and carried it a ways while also rising higher. The legs of it are stuck in the lava—bizarre site!

  4. Thank you so much for this site. Your pictures are amazing and for us, the next best thing to being there. I did have the good fortune to walk out on the lava bench from the Chain Of Craters road twenty years ago. It was a dangerous thing to do and with only aqua boots on my feet, I had to endure serious burns on my soles. The shoes melted and were embedded with lava. The one hour walk out there took two hours to return. But for the grace of Pele, I am still here to talk of it. As a Volcano enthusiast I should have had a job like yours.

  5. The next best thing to being there, indeed. Thanks Leigh

  6. Thanks for taking me photographing with you. I had such a wonderful time. I am home now and miss Hawaii already. Keep doing the wonderful work you do. See you again.

  7. These photographs are amazing. I have never been to Hawaii and I'm sure I'm missing out. Thanks so much for sharing!