Saturday, December 03, 2005

44-acre Collapse in Hawaii

Hawaii's Big Island is one of my favorite places in the whole world. It has three major volcanoes - dormant Mauna Kea; "not active right now, but expect it" Mauna Loa - both close to 14,000 feet high and very active Kilauea. A lava flow recently formed by Kilauea collapsed to no one's surprise. The lava solidified at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, so parts of it were over the water and it was clearly unstable. The photo above is the result - a 60-foot cliff (others say 30-meter) with a lava "waterfall." A close-up of the fall. My Way News has the story. Here is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's page about viewing the lava flows. How close you can get varies - of course, because the flows change daily. It's dangerous. It looks like right now a short walk gets you to where you can get a distant view of the lava entering the ocean. During the day you see mostly steam; at night you can see the red flow or more likely a red glow. But you have a hike over a mile to get close to the flow. And it's a rough mile; the new pahoe'hoe lava is like glass; in case you stumble you want to be wearing boots and long pants; it's nasty. And they don't let you close if it's not safe. In 1999 we did this trip when it was a 3-mile hike! About one screen down there is a "before" photo of the shelf that collapsed. Here is the more detailed Hawaii Volcano Observatory web page(s). They don't directly describe the collapse. I guess they assume it was news and everyone knows it. Turns out it happened 8 days ago on 11/28! They show the "after" in the first photo in the 12/1/2005 section and the "before:" if you scroll down the November 1 it is the fourth photo. My Big Island page

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