Current Update (update archive)
20 December 1999
Active flows at Lae`apuki lava bench
Lava reached the ocean at the Lae`apuki lava bench (below right) December 17-18. Mapping on December 19 showed that an 80-m-wide-flow front had reached the sea cliff. This morning, two lava cascades are pouring over the old sea cliff, and lava is entering the sea from a pahoehoe flow that has developed on the bench. This bench was last active in January 1997.
Large map. Map shows lava flow (red) reaching ocean at the old Lae`apuki lava bench, located about 800 m east of Highcastle (not currently active).
17 December 1999
Aerial views of active flows and Paliuli fault
These views of the coastal plain show the locations of the Highcastle entry area, a larger flow to the east that is about 100 m from the coast as of this morning, and the Paliuli fault.
Large map. Map shows lava flow (red) nearing ocean 800 m east of Highcastle. Compare with map in update for December 14. The tip of the flow nearest the sea was mapped at 0800 December 17.
15 December 1999
Highcastle entry still active
This morning at 0630, lava was flowing in one or more small tubes over the old sea cliff at Highcastle and speading out as pahoehoe on the bench below (this bench was formed several years ago). Lava was breaking out of the pahoehoe at several places on the bench and moving into and even through the surf zone. Occasionally, a pahoehoe toe at the brink of the old sea cliff would break open, sending a gush of lava free-falling down the 15-m cliff to the bench below, where it moved slowly outward as `a`a.
and Kupaianaha, 1983-December 14, 1999
Large map. Map showing area covered by lava flows emplaced during the Pu`u `O`o - Kupaianaha eruption between 1983 and December 14, 1999. Flows active between September 23 and December 14, 1999, are shown in pink. The upslope breakout points (stars) were recently referred to as perched lava ponds; because these features are not vents and there is no ponded lava at these sites, we are calling them breakout points from the lava tube (shown in red on the larger map).
14 December 1999
Lava reaches the ocean first time since September 12
A small lava flow briefly oozed into the sea just after sunset on December 13. This was the first time that lava entered the sea since an eruptive pause between September 12 and 23, which shut off the supply of lava to a well-established lava tube system that ended near Kamokuna. Part of the flow burned and buried about 70 m of an old section of the Chain of Craters Road, and another poured over a former seacliff at Highcastle to form a a flow on the lava bench below. The slow-moving flow reached the sea about 30 m away a few hours later, but stopped soon afterward.
There are two larger lobes less than one kilometer east of the flow at Highcastle, one about 300 m from the coast. If these flows continue to advance, they would likely reach the sea sometime in the next few days.
Lava-flow map near Highcastle
Flow boundaries mapped on December 13.
Large map. Map showing areas covered by lava flows since 1992 on the southeast coast of Kilauea Volcano near the west end of the Chain of Craters Road. Flows active between September and December 13 are shown in red. The flow that reached the sea on December 13 is about 1.7 km from the end of the road. Note lava tubes (yellow) abandoned as a consequence of the eruptive pause between September 12 and 23, 1999.
Eruption-viewing opportunities change constantly, so those readers planning a visit to the volcano should contact Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park for the most current eruption information (tel. 808-985-6000).
Updated: 23 December 1999 (DAS)