Lava is flowing on the coastal plain:
Lava is flowing from a vent high on the flank of Pu’u ‘O’o Cone all the way down to the bottom of Pulama Pali as of yesterday morning. Last night, we watched several broad ribbons of glittering pahoehoe cascade down the steep lower part of the pali, to feed a massive spreading ‘a’a flow at the cliff base below. Pele’s reappearance on the coastal plain was indeed a splendid one.
The ‘ohi’a lehua trees up on the pali next to the bright flow in this photo were probably at least 60 feet (20 m) high for scale. The tree in the foreground is illuminated by lava burning vegetation at its base. It burst into flames just a few minutes after this photo was taken.
Most of the lava in these majestic streams of pahoehoe turned to ‘a’a when they reached the flatter terrain at the pali’s base. The ‘a’a expanded outward fairly rapidly in all directions, making a continuous clattering noise that sounded like truck loads of glass bottles being dumped on pavement.
The air was shimmering everywhere with the tremendous heat (or was it excitement). In either case it made photography more of a challenge than usual.
It’s always a spectacular show when exposed lava is flowing down a steep slope or cliff. If the pahoehoe flows continue, they will eventually form lava tubes, which can transport molten lava long distances. So if the flows continue long enough, they may eventually reach the ocean and make for even more fantastic lava viewing. It’s always doing something new and that’s part of the beauty.
The current hike is moderate to challenging and is only for those who are fit and in good physical condition. Conditions and hiking distances change daily so stay tuned to find out the latest.
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