December 29, 2016 Lava Still Flowing
In spite of the rainy weather, we managed to access the Pu’u ‘O’o vent this morning, capturing several atmospheric lava lake shots. We also shot lava flowing quickly by through a couple of skylights just east of the vent. This conduit feeds not only the ongoing 61G flow, but also the still active additional flow just to the northeast of 61G… Pele still breaks out there frequently, but is overplating and widening rather than making much progress downslope. It is now a bitl over a mile from the vent. The main flow continues unabated, dumping tons of lava into the pacific ocean at Kamokuna just inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Skylights at the base of the Pali remain, revealing Pele’s liquid rock as it flows through the tube system from the vent some six miles to the new lava delta, which continues to make the Big Island bigger, minute by minute, day by day. The flow front is quite broad, active mostly on the eastern side of the enormous lava delta. The lava delta is well over 20 acres large now, even though cracks indicate a collapse may decrease that figure at any time. Numerous lobes of lava are pouring into the Pacific Ocean there, creating a huge plume of laze that can be seen for many miles. We saw three tour boats, within 10 yards of the ocean entry begging the question as to why they are not at risk of a sudden bench collapse, as the park claims we are. We are restricted to one-thousand feet from the ocean entry, while the tour boats can go as close as they want, and have reportedly even been dropping visitors off on the black sand beach next to the bench. Pele continues to form new black sand beaches along the coast near the ocean entry. The hot lava’s interaction with the cold seawater shattering the flow into bits that are then tumbled into submission. What a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana of HVNP side by walking out the temporary access road, which goes directly to the ocean entry! The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed. Bruce Omori, Special Guest Sean Stuchen, Leilani, The Christmas Lava Ducky and I flew with the famous Smiley Face Paradise pilot, Colin Burkardt… Colin handled the aircraft expertly and we are eternally grateful… mahalo, bruddah!
Mahalo to Paradise Helicopters and Bruce Omori at Extreme Exposure