Kilauea volcanoes newest eruption/breakout. 5-26-16
Some of you may have already seen the news reports and aerial views of the latest lava flows coming from Pu’u O’o vents north and northeast slopes. As usual I’ll give you a glimpse of what it looked like from the ground.
I only shot a short amount of video and few images.
Spent most of the time recuperating from the long hike and resting for the hike back.
The heat from this type of flow is much more intense than the typical pahoehoe flows.
It radiates out quite a bit further. So, getting close shots and video clips was tricky.
I’m at the front of a half mile long lava river.
The front had reached a relatively flat area allowing the flow to bunch up and slow its forward progress.
This front would stall by sunrise and the pressure further upstream led to breakouts 1/4 of a mile back on the interior of the flow field.
Look closely at the top of the video clips and you can see the large river snaking its way down slope.
It was approximately 30′ wide.
Too risky approaching that area. Especially with sharp turns in the river above and on a steep slope.
Sudden and large overflows can cover up to a 1/2 mile faster than you can run.
The flow front consisted of slabby pahoehoe.
Look closely in from the front edge and you can see the river stirring up the flow.
This causes large slabs to form.
The scraping sounds heard are from the slabs being dragged along the cooled older flow.
The sounds are similar to someone scraping their finger nails on a chalkboard times 100.
The blue flames that appear early in the video were very unusual as there wasn’t any vegetation up that high to burn causing methane flames.
The deep blue suggests possibly pure sulfur gases burning.
This is something I had never seen before in the past 3 decades.
There wasn’t time to change my lens for a closer shot as the flow quickly surged forward burying the flames forever.
I also had to keep moving my gear far ahead of the flow.
Throughout the visit steam was coming out from every crack up to a 1/4 of a mile from the flow front.
All in all, a very relaxing and entertaining visit.
Images from this hike can be seen here.
I only took a few and only with my Nikon D800 and the 16 mm wide-angle lens.
The video was shot with the same and the Nikon 180 mm for the helicopter shots.
Those clips show the huge heat waves coming from this lava flow.
Warning; The video is loud. This type of lava flow is much louder than the typical pahoehoe or a’a flow. The entire area behind the flows front is constantly churning as the force of the river pushes it forward. This also causes the cooling top layer to fold into large slabs and flip and roll. In its self it’s very noisy. When it flows over bare rock/cool lava it can be deafening. You have the popping and crackling sounds of a pahoehoe flow along with the sounds of breaking dishes from an a’a flow with the added noise from huge slabs of rock being flipped and dragged along.
My usual warning.
Do not attempt to do what I do.
I have 25 years of experience and I know what I’m doing out there.
So many things can go wrong for those who don’t understand or can’t recognize the dangers of an eruption of this type.
Stay away. Follow my blog and Youtube channel and stay safe.
As of now the flow activity has diminished greatly so, not much to see now anyway.
Photo licensing, BryanLowry@lavapix.com.
Prints can be purchased locally at Krazy About Kona in the Kona Inn Shopping Village. 75-5744 Ali’i Drive. Two shops south of the Kona Inn Restaurant.
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Steaming area of pahoehoe lava flow, Puu Oo vent, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island of Hawaii