January 12, 2017 61G Lava Update
Clouds, fog and vog kept us from the Pu’u ‘O’o vent this morning. No surface lava was visible above the Pali on the 61G flow, but we were able to document the continuing overplating of the still active additional flow just to the northeast of 61G. Pele still breaks out there frequently, but is making little progress downslope. It is still a bit 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, and rebuilding the lava bench which collapsed on New Year’s Eve. Remarkably, the three 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 ocean entry, which continues to make the Big Island bigger, minute by minute, day by day. The collapsed dropped some 25 acres of new land into the ocean and took with it a sizable portion of the old sea cliff to the east. Vast amounts of lava are now flowing into the water in a very small area, creating a huge plume of laze that can be seen for many miles. We continue to be restricted to one-thousand feet from the ocean entry, even though the tour boats can apparently go as close as they want. Pele continues to form new black sand beaches along the coast near her ocean entries. 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 Marty Libling, Butterfly Ducky and I flew with pilot Rob Mitchell on yet another outstanding Paradise Helicopters’ charter… mahalo plenty!
Mahalo to Paradise Helicopters and Bruce Omori at Extreme Exposure