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18 December 2001

Activity at ocean entries

Blocks hurled onto Kamoamoa bench by waves, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Kamoamoa bench. Surface of eastern part of Kamoamoa bench is littered with blocks and black sand hurled onto the bench by recent storm waves. Even during relatively calm conditions, rogue waves splash onto active lava benches, throwing rocks ashore and creating hot steam clouds.

East Kapapa`u bench. Lava spills into the sea from the side of a flow that has largely covered the former black sand beach. Seaward tip of the bench is in upper left. The snout of the flow is only 30 m from the visitor overlook—an excellent lava-viewing day!

Lava spills into sea at East Kapapa`u entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

20 December 2001

Tubes, ocean entries, and a hornito

Fume rising from skylights on Pulama pali marks the locations of lava tubes feeding the Kamoamoa and East Kupapa`u entries. View shows two branches of the tube that supplies lava to the Kamoamoa bench; the western branch (left) began developing in October and is not yet a major player.  An estimated 300,000 cubic meters of lava flows each day through the entire tube system, including the large East Kupapa`u tube complex..

Aerial view of Pulama Pali and Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Kamoamoa bench. Westward view of bench shows steam plume blowing from a major entry point of lava into the sea. The bench began to grow in late September and is now 360 m long by 130 m wide. The 3-5-m-high cliff on the mauka (landward) side of the bench is the former sea cliff.

Aerial view of Kamoamoa entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Aerial view of the East Kupapa`u entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

East Kupapa`u bench. Aerial view of the East Kupapa`u bench looking northeastward. Hawai`i County's access road and viewing area are visible in the larger images. The bench began to form in early May but has changed little since June. It is about 600 m long and 130 m wide.

New hornito near the 2300 ft. skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

A new 3-m tall hornito formed at the 2,300-foot skylight along the main lava tube. A hornito is a mound of spatter above a rootless vent—in this case, a break in the roof of the lava tube. A hornito is hollow but commonly roofed. Incandescence can be seen in a small skylight at base of this hornito.

24 December 2001

Dawn of Christmas Eve at Kamoamoa bench

Glow from entry lava in predawn light at Kamoamoa, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Steam from three entry points at tip of Kamoamoa bench merge into one glowing plume in predawn light.

Three entry areas visible just before dawn from west of Kamoamoa bench. The smaller two are at the tip of the bench. The larger glow includes a small surface flow that also sends lava into the water.

Glow from entry lava in predawn light at Kamoamoa, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Lava pouring into water at Kamoamoa just before dawn, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

A little later, but still a few minutes before sunup, glow at the point of the bench pales by comparison with the lava falls at the western entry. Nineteen minutes later, a green flash appeared an instant before the sun made its Christmas Eve arrival.

27 December 2001

Kona winds permit clear view of southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o`

Aerial view of south side of Pu`u `O`o cone, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Looking northeast to Pu`u `O`o across the broad shield built on the west and south flank of the cone between 1992 and 1997. Kona winds blow the gas plume northeastward out of the crater, permitting the best view of this side of Pu`u `O`o in some time. The large scallop in the Pu`u `O`o cone is the headwall of Puka Nui (see image below.)

Aerial view of southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

Looking east to Puka Nui, the large collapse feature on the southwest flank of Pu`u `O`o (large scallop in right side of image). Pu`u `O`o's main crater is filled with fume in distance. A small, deep pit is visible through a gas veil in the west gap of the crater rim. A larger pit is west (left) of Puka Nui.

The southwest side of Pu`u `O`o continues to collapse, probably because lava flowing through a tube beneath the west flank continues to erode the underlying tephra deposits; the tephra was erupted from high lava fountains during the first 3.5 years of the Pu`u `O`o eruption. The first collapse pits on the west flank of Pu`u `O`o appeared in 1993.

31 December 2001

Farewell to 2001

Full moon over lava flow inland of East Kupapa`u entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

The last full moon of 2001 sets over Kilauea, watching lava flow down Pulama pali (background) and across the coastal flat 1 km inland of the East Kupapa`u ocean entry.

Active pahoehoe toe inland of East Kupapa`u entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i

A toe of lava, falling like a teardrop, bids adieu to a sorrowful year. The toe is 50 cm across--a large tear by human standards but not by that of Pele.

Maps of lava-flow field, Kilauea Volcano

Map of flows from Pu`u `O`o: November 13, 2001

Map of lava flows on south coastal part of Kilauea Volcano as of 13 November 2001

Map shows lava flows erupted during the 1983-present activity of Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha (see large map). The flows active from December 17, 2000 through November 13, 2001 are shown in red; the active Kamoamoa flow is the westernmost red flow descending Pulama pali and entering the ocean at Kamoamoa. Lava is also pouring into the sea at the long-lasting East Kupapa`u entry. From October 29 to November 10, lava also entered the water at Kupapa`u, 600 m southwest of East Kupapa`u.

Most of the recent flows are fed from breakout points at 2300-1700 feet, above Pulama pali in the northern part of the large red area. Lava re-entered the sea near Kamokuna (just east of Kamoamoa) on January 21, 2001, but soon stopped when activity shifted from the western to the eastern branch of the flow. Since then, activity has been divided between the eastern and western branches. Breakouts from the eastern tube system have destroyed hundreds of meters of the Royal Gardens access road.

Lava has been entering the ocean and building a large bench at East Kupapa`u since April 25. A tiny trickle of lava fed through the western tube system dripped into the water just east of Kamoamoa on May 31 but stopped within a day. Thereafter, all lava leaving the island went through the East Kupapa`u entry until September 28-29, when the entry at Kamoamoa started. Yet a third ocean entry began on October 29, near the old Kupapa`u point, 600 m southwest of East Kupapa`u; this entry stopped on November 10.


Eruption-viewing opportunities change constantly, so refer to this page often. Those readers planning a visit to Kilauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes can get much useful information from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park; be sure to click on the IN-DEPTH button.


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Updated: 5 January 2001 (DAS)