July 2010 Lava Activity


I’ve finally posted my photos. Of course others have long since posted their version of the spectacular activity. I prefer to shoot while its going strong. The photos can be posted later. It all started on the 16th of July when the new lava flow made its way to the end of hwy 130. It hit the road at 9:32pm and never looked back. The adventure started with a very large methane gas flame mauka of the road. Theres a video of it on my youtube page. Lava then made its way down and along what was left of hwy 137 heading towards Gary Sleik’s house. That flow was full of very large methane gas explosions. The gas would cross under hwy 137 from the flow and cross over the makai side and explode starting instant fires. This went on all day into the night. Many time as far as 200′ out in front of the advancing lava. Gary’s been a good friend for a couple of years now. I often visited after hikes to update him on the activity on and above the pali. Had some great breakfasts there.  The flow inflated and moved rapidly on the 17th. Wiping out dense areas of trees. Including many of our favorite mango trees. I ate tons of mango’s during the 2 weeks.  As the flow neared Gary’s it slowed its forward movement and began to fill in vast areas of lower elevations. It also was inflating to great heights of 5′-10′. There were even more great methane gas flames from all the old growth forest in the area. One methane explosion started a huge brush fire makai of Gary’s house that rapidly made its way to the east away from Gary’s. Lava was being contained by the ancient Hakuma Horst. A higher elevated stretch of land along the coast that directed the 1990-91 lava flows into Kalapana. It slowly built its way up enough to over take the Horst in a few locations. After 6 days and nights I finally decided I could head home for maybe a few days and get some needed sleep and maybe sort through my photos but, after only one day I received a call from Gary at 6am that a breakout was near his garden. I headed back out there. It would take 3 more days for the flow to finally get to his place. I hiked every inch of the flows documenting its progress and destruction. Found time to visit Fox’s Landing too. It was a special place. A remote black sand beach that is now covered by several feet of lava. I was lucky to sleep maybe 1-2 hrs a day. Usually less or not at all. There was too much to see and do.  On Saturday the 24th it became clear that Gary’s house was doomed. It wasn’t at all a somber mood as we saw this coming for some time. That evening into the early morning hours of Sunday were spectacular! A movie script couldn’t have been written better. The lava slowly advanced into his yard from both the south and the east under the bright full moon. It would eventually hit his stairway at 2:53am. Then the flow started to inflate rather than advance on the house and burn it. You could hear the timbers crack and strain from the pressure. At 3:19am it finally started to burn. By sunrise there was just a pile of ash under the melted tin roof. The water catchment tank still stood when I left. Other then one uninvited intruder there were maybe 6-10 people there and it was a very memorable night. I would like to once again thank Gary for letting me be a part of it. I’m posting the images because Gary was and is fine with it all. You had to be there to truly understand. Besides others have had their photos all over the news and web. I also shot some interesting images of the first structure to go. His outhouse.  I did tell him right after the house finally collapsed that my big burrito was still in the fridge. Everyone was pretty tired by sunrise and most actually fell a sleep on the large tumulus mauka of his house where we put some of his furniture. I’m used to being up days and nights at a time so, I fared better. After getting some sleep at a friends I drove home. Just two days later I was back for the ocean entry right next to Fox’s Landing. Got there at 3am and the lava hit the ocean at 3:14am. This was another spectacular event as the lava was flowing through a thick palm and coconut grove. It’s such an incredible area I stayed most of the day. Finally had to leave due to a long-awaited Doctors appointment then next day. Needed to get my foot x-rayed. That’s a story in its self. Hopefully the lava spares the remaining residents in the area. But if it does continue for several months they are most likely doomed too unless one of the ocean entries takes all the lava away from their area. I have 600 photos in one gallery for this event. How many pages that need to be viewed depends on your monitor size. Remember to view each page. The images are in the order they were shot. I haven’t decide what ones will be added to my Fine Art gallery. Some of the ones ending in x-xxx are being considered. Please feel free to make suggestions and be sure to comment on any that you find of interest. Pass this along to your friends too. It’s always good to use the slide show feature for each page. You can pause it at anytime. If I forgot anything I’ll edit this post accordingly. Remember all of you Facebook users that I have a fan page that you can Like. It can be accessed on my homepage of the website on the lower right corner. You can share this post by hitting the Like button below.

Click this link and enjoy. July 2010 Kalapana Lava

Gary's House


Bryan Lowry

All text and images are copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited.
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4 thoughts on “July 2010 Lava Activity

  1. Good to see you guys up there at Gary’s place. So unfortunate to see his house burn from the lava. Speaking of Methane gas, just past Gary’s area and down towards the Kaawaloa’s property, the scent of methane was really strong. A few very loud explosions that rattle the ground under me. Be careful….. I see the Gorilla had some of his pictures in the newspaper, lol. Anyways, take care. Will hang loose for awhile and wait to see what security is like for the area, to many problems with people crossing over and into the landowner private property causing a disturbance especially at nights. Aloha….Errol

  2. Aren’t you afraid of the dim lava under the crust? According to a geologist with a PhD degree, it’s supposed to be highly unstable and ferociously dangerous.

  3. Ha Ha, no. Don’t know where someone got that term. Inflated lava with a 1′-2′ thick crust that is only warm to the touch isn’t a big deal.
    The park service had their public trail crossing flows like this often. No PhD here. Just 19 yrs field experience.

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