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St Patty’s Lava

A fine sunrise greeted us on St Patty’s Day morning! The lake was particularly active today… Pele’s hot liquid rock bubbling, churning, stretching and folding! Most of the downslope activity is now part of an outbreak that emanated from just below the vent last week. It flows atop the 61G lava tube system and has now reached about a mile and a half downslope… approximately half way to the Pali. It remained moderately active this morning sending out small pahoehoe toes at the distal tip. The huge outbreaks of the past month on, and just above the Pali are now mostly gone…. but 61G’s lava tubes still feed the ocean entry six miles from the Pu’u ‘O’o vent, but no skylights were observed. A few surface flows on the coastal flats remain active, but are sluggish at best. The main flow continues dumping tons of hot rock into the pacific ocean. The ocean entry continues to pour lava into the water creating littoral explosions which rock the coastline. The activity has cut back into the cliff several dozen meters… the cliff remains cracked and dangerously unstable. Most of the activity is hidden from view of the overlook to the east. As Pele shoots lava into the water, the cold sea water in turn freezes the lava and the concussions shatter it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others gain the purchase of the coastal rocks and form black sand beaches. Flying once again with Paradise Helicopter pilot Rob Mitchell, a master at the stick… mahalo plenny, Rob! Bruce Omori, special guest Takashi Yamakawa, Leilani, Shamrock Ducky and I had an outstanding St Patty’s Day lava overflight charter. Paradise Helicopters rocks!

Catch the Lava action with tours departing from Hilo & Kona on the Big Island:

If you want to feel the awesome heat of the volcano and take some incredible photos – don’t forget to add our “doors off” option to your tour for an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience.



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