10-09-11 Lava Rivers and Streams


Here’s a post on lava rivers/streams. Since Pu’u O’o vent has been sending streams out from the new fissure on its east spillway, I decided it was time to explain the difference between this type of river vs the more normal lava tube breakout. People have asked a lot lately if I’ve been out there yet. I haven’t and the reason is, this type of river and its location are just too dangerous. Plus the area is very difficult to hike due to the horrible lava I explained in a earlier post. The east spillway of Pu’u O’o is very steep so, the flows move very fast up there. They also overflow their banks at anytime and any location so, getting close even if you made it that far is too risky. If the lava can move faster than you can, it’s too dangerous! Also, the lava can easily overflow suddenly from Pu’u O’o vent again and engulf this entire area like it did when this all started. Not to mention that much of this lava flows very fast and hollow leaving that nasty shelly pahoehoe or A’a lava flows that can be well over 15′ high. Stay away!!!

The samples I show in my photos here are from lava tube overflows. The main tube gets over-capacitated and a weak section of its roof is lifted away allowing the lava to escape. The section lifted away is called the “Manhole Cover”. I have witnessed this before on a large-scale. Included is a very rare photo of one that survived the overflow. 99% of the time the section is swept away by the powerful surge of lava. The higher elevations are the best for these lava tube overflows. They’re generally more powerful and much larger than on the flats. Getting caught by an event like this is one of the many occurring dangers that can kill you out there. Hiking active lava flows is an art that is learned carefully over a period of several years. Hiking a mature lava tube is one of my most favorite adventures to do. You have to know what you’re doing. Its nothing like the short walks to ocean entries.

The Manhole Cover image of course has a lava tube skylight. This was left over as the overflow was very brief and at a sudden 10′-15′ drop that allowed the lava to have an intense internal lavafall. The breakout occurred at the highest of the many small pali’s. I spent 8 hrs at this location. The following week I went on a skylight exploration hike and found 21 active ones. By far the most I’d ever seen on one hike. A week later they were all sealed up. These were 4-5 hr one way hikes. My next post will show some of my images. Or you can ck out my website to view many of them now.http://lavapix.com/2/348f7/c1692a/#/gallery/hvnp-lava-surface-flows-stock/a44/ If you find this post of interest, be sure and +1 or share it with your g+ or fb friends.  Be sure and add me to your google+ circles or Like my Facebook Fan Page for quicker and more frequent updates.

Lava rivers from previous hikes

Skylight Manhole cover


Bryan Lowry

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