The lava flow has stalled… (January 2015)

We came to Hawaii to see volcanoes. (That’s one of the reasons for the visit.) First volcano stop is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

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Note the bison on the bottom of the national park sign. No bison here! But there are lots of mongooses.

You can’t get close enough to see the red hot magma inside the crater, but you can see steam and gases escaping. At night, the sky over the crater looks red.

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The area around the caldera includes several distinct sections of lava that have flowed in parallel paths since 1983.

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Hawaii is just one big active volcano. Actually a couple are active, but the Kilauea volcano is the one that has recently been spewing lava that is gradually flowing into communities.

Red hot lava was threatening Pahoa earlier in 2014, but thankfully the front stalled by late fall. Lava advances continue, but they are currently upslope of any occupied areas.

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In Pahoa. How would you like this sign in your neighborhood?

Lava viewing is at the town transfer station (recycling spot), which is only a couple years old. It’s out of business for the moment because lava blocks the loading docks.

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This lava is rock hard and apparently cool, but heat waves still rise from the back layers.

We were a few months late to see the lava as it was deposited.

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From about September 2014. It’s not just the 2000 degree temperature, but also the toxic sulfur dioxide fumes that will kill you.

This is what that hillside looks like now.

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Note the flowers at the foreground, offerings to Pele, the goddess of the volcano.

The offerings and prayers of local residents worked; the lava stalled.

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Amazing how chainlink fence can slow down cooling lava.

With the lava flow stopped, engineers are planning to bring big Cats in to remove the blockage and get the transfer station up and running soon.

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Engineers at Michigan Tech worried about snow load; they never had to deal with lava load.

This view shows the transfer station and also the house we all saw burning in November on the nightly news. During this recent flow, just the one house was destroyed and the garage remained intact. (Click the picture to enlarge.)

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Just a miracle that any of this is still around.

The county provides daily morning lava updates. Residents are safe. What about the wildlife?

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Nothing keeps the huli huli chickens from brightening the neighborhood with their morning crowing.

You might wonder if anything could possibly grow on this hard black rock. (We did.) Hawaii is built on lava and it’s amazingly fertile. Our next blog features a lush botanical garden.

 

 

 

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