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Lava in New Direction 6-9-16

Lava is moving in a new direction:

Lava from one of the new flows that broke out on May 24th remains active and has continued to head southeastward, toward the coast. This morning the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reported that the flow front was about 1.7 miles from its source on Pu’u ‘O’o’s southeastern flank, and is moving toward the Pulama Pali.

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A skylight in the new flow’s lava tube reveals a river of active lava. – Photo: HVO-USGS

HVO reported that the other May 24th break out, which had been moving towards the northeast, now appears to be inactive. In addition, on their most recent overflight, HVO reported that no surface lava was observed on the June 27th lava flow field, leading scientists to suspect the flow may have stopped just short of its second anniversary.

HVO webcams have shown that the floor of Pu’u ‘O’o cone has been subsiding slowly and steadily in conjunction with ongoing gradual deflationary tilt. With activity now apparently limited to just the southeastern breakout, we could see this flow advance at a faster rate in the coming days.

A new webcam has just been installed on the southeastern flank of Pu’u ‘O’o Cone aimed toward the still active May 24th lava flow. The flow is headed in the direction of Pulama Pali, a roughly 2,000 foot tall fault scarp along Kilauea’s East Rift Zone.

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Views from the new webcam toward the active May 24th breakout heading southeast. – Screenshot: HVO Mobile cam 3

At the foot of Pulama Pali lies the broad coastal plain which has been continually built up and repaved by lava flows from the 1980’s – 2000’s. Lava last flowed on the coastal plain back in 2013, when the Peace Day Flow formed a lava tube which eventually reached the Pacific Ocean. The Peace Day Flow lasted for about 2 years, but became inactive in the fall of 2013 as the Kahauale’a 2 Flow strengthened and advanced to the northeast.

What does it all mean?

Well… it remains to be seen exactly what the new flow will do. At the moment it is heading toward Pulama Pali and the coastal plain beyond, which is good news. If the flow continues, lava may become visible from the coastal plain and offer some great viewing opportunities.

Lava is NOT currently visible from the coast and the flow is still many miles away from the ocean at this time. Of course, it’s not a sure thing that the lava will continue on its path to the sea, but since it’s the first time in three years it has moved in this direction, it’s super exciting to us!

Stay tuned here for the latest updates about changes in activity and lava viewing opportunities!

What’s happening now?

The lava lake at Kilauea Summit remains active and has hovered at relatively high levels for the past month or so. When the lake surface rises above 100 feet it has sometimes been possible to see red lava spatter. Many of our recent guests were able to catch glimpses of spatter and a few lucky folks were actually able to see the surface of the lava lake when it briefly rose into view.

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An awesome view of spattering at the lava lake margins by HVO. – Photo: HVO-USGS

You will not be able to snap this amazing shot yourself because the lava lake area is off limits due to significant hazards, but these very cool photos from HVO are too good not to share.

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View of the lake surface and spattering from an area off limits to the public. – Photo: HVO-USGS

Our Kilauea Lava Glow Tours are a great way to see the lake’s beautiful red glow. We offer Island Hop Lava Glow Tours for those flying in for just the day, and also Private Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Tours, with flexible times and custom itineraries. Come see Kilauea with us!

  • Lava Activity Update

    LAVA IS BACK !!!!!!!!!
    We now have tours to active flowing lava once again! Don't miss this opportunity to see the wonders of red hot lava. To find out more click here: Lava Bike and Hike Tours

    Please note these are not tours of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. For park tours click here:Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tours

    For more info check out LAVA FAQ