January 19, 2017 Lava Lake Revealed
A stunningly clear day allowed us to access the Pu’u ‘O’o vent this morning, capturing images of a very active lava lake. Skylights just east of the vent were accessible, but we we’re unable to see inside. This conduit feeds not only the ongoing 61G flow, but also the still active additional flow just to the northeast of 61G, which is now 1.5 miles from the vent… Pele still breaks out there, but only infrequently, and this flow appears to be dying. The main flow continues unabated, dumping tons of lava into the pacific ocean at Kamokuna just inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pele’s liquid rockt 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 front is limited to a huge entry on the eastern side. The recent collapse has send a long-lived firehose lava stream in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists surmise that perhaps because of the sheer cliffs and huge amount of lava entering the sea, a lava delta has not begun to form. We saw only one lava tour boat, once again within 20 yards of the ocean entry. We are restricted to one-thousand feet from the ocean entry, but the boats continue to sail very close to the active entry. 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.
Mahalo to Paradise Helicopters and Bruce Omori at Extreme Exposure