5-30-10 Lava Shields Hike

5-30-10 Lava Shields

On this very long hike I ventured up to scout out the newly formed lava shields that were forming about 1 mile below the old Kupaianaha shield. I hiked through the night so I could explore possible skylights along the way and so I could be up at the shields by sunrise. The shields formed in an area next to the twin kipukas. This hike was an exploration type adventure for possible future images. I do these types of hikes often. Shields are difficult to get great photos of due to the extreme heat waves and their height. Its like trying to take a photo of the water in an above ground swimming pool while lying on the ground. There appeared to be 3 shields growing in close company. Whether they gradually turn into one shield or separate remains to be seen. Each had large pools of lava that would over flow like giant above ground pools. The area around shields is extremely fragile and brittle. Extreme caution must be taken when approaching them. These particular shields allowed for close access at the time. Small flows were progressing from both the base and tops leaving a perimeter of warm to hot lava. One such A’a lava flow allowed me to cook my burrito I brought along. The growing shields could eventually send large lava flows down the pali. Where is always the question. One flow is heading to the area of upper Royal Gardens on the west side. Currently there are several factors that could determine the direction. Puu Oo has recently started filing with lava. This could possibly divert the flow from the TEB vent area and end that part of the eruption. I just returned from my first hike to Puu Oo in nearly 3 years to check it out. That post will be in a few days. Don’t venture out to this area. There are numerous dangers that change quickly. I have two decades of experience and I know the area very well. The hike down the pali was brutally hot. I took 15.5 liters of water with me. Yes, 15.5! Gladly I did as much was needed to pour over my head to keep from over heating. My F-stop Tilopa handled the hike very well.

Bryan Lowry

All text and images are copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited.
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