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Kilauea

2 July 2001

New skylight along main tube

New 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Another view of 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Two views of a new skylight that developed at the 1880-foot elevation along the main lava tube between Pu`u `O`o and the sea. The skylight formed in the past week, possibly in the past 2 days, at a place where a previously obtained geophysical transect, using the VLF (Very Low Frequency) technique, had predicted the axis of the tube. The skylight is 3-4 m long and 2 m wide. Lava flows from left to right in left-hand image and from lower left to upper right in right-hand image. The walls of the tube are so hot that they are nearly indistinguishable from flowing lava in the bottom of the tube.
Videographer above tube with no heat shimmer, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Videographer with heat shimmer, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Two views of camera man taping lava flowing in the tube. The left view is across the wind direction and shows little evidence of heat shimmer. The right view is looking into the wind, which blows hot air toward camera and produces intense heat shimmer. Note that the foreground is reasonably sharp but the poor camera man appears almost pixelated. The still photographer lost hair to Pele as this image was taken.
Video team at 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Partly melted pack at 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Left. Video team ending the shoot at the 1880-foot skylight, oblivious to the disaster shown in the next image. Right. Melted shoulder strap on expensive pack. Note rocks imbedded in the melted strap. One of the team laid the pack across a crack in the pahoehoe without first checking the temperature. The crack was blistering hot from heat escaping out of the tube. As a result the pack is history, and a certain someone is a bit wiser. 

5 July 2001

Walls of 1880-foot skylight a little cooler

Sunlit lava in 1880-foot skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Lava contrasted with walls of 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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The walls of the 1880-foot skylight, first photographed on July 2 (see images below), have cooled enough in the 3-day period to now be readily distinguishable from the flowing lava. The walls now have a deeper red tinge, rather than the orange of the 1160 C lava. The cooling took place because the formation of the skylight allowed heat to escape from the lava tube. In left image, sun shining through skylight reflects brightly off river bank.
Meandering lava seen through 1880-foot skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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TV crew behind 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i.
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Left. View looking upstream, showing the gentle curve (toward the right facing downstream) of the lava river around the darker (cooler) stream bank to the left. The velocity of the lava is 6.2 km/hour, as measured with a radar gun. This velocity is a little slower than that often measured in the tube system. Right. TV crew tapes HVO geologist with sample of lava taken from the river. Compare this image with the next-to-last one taken on July 2. Note enlargement of the skylight in only three days, as its fragile roof collapses.

12 July 2001

Level of lava drops in 1880-foot skylight

July 2. Level of lava when the skylight was first observed. The surface of the stream is at the change from bright orange to dull red-orange, near middle of image.

High level of lava in 1880-ft skylight, July 2, 2001, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i
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July 5. Level of lava has dropped enough to see a slight bend developing in the stream bank, again near middle of image at change in hue.

Lowered level of lava on July 5 in 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i
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July 12. Now the level of the flowing lava has dropped to the point where it is just visible in the lower left of the skylight. The stream bend in the July 5 image is preserved as a sculptured stream bank about halfway up the middle part of the image.

Lava has nearly dropped from sight on July 12 in 1880-ft skylight, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i
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The 1-1.5-m drop in level of the lava stream is the result of thermal erosion of the stream bed, not of lowered lava flux. The flux measured during this time remained about the same. Thermal erosion is a common feature of streams in lava tubes.

14 July 2001

Lava develops roof in 1880-foot skylight

July 14. Level of lava appears to lowered a little from that in the view below on July 12, but a roof may be forming on the stream.

Roof possibly forming on lava in 1880-ft skylight, July 14, 2001, Kilauea volcano, Hawai`i
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Map of flows from Pu`u `O`o: June 2001

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

Large map Map shows lava flows erupted during the 1983-present activity of Pu`u `O`o and Kupaianaha. The flows active from December 17, 2000 through June 30, 2001 are shown in red, above and on Pulama pali and on the coastal plain,. Most of the recent flows are fed from breakout points at 1920-1700 feet, above the pali in the northern part of the large red area. Lava re-entered the sea just west of Kamokuna 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 fed through the eastern system has been entering the ocean since April 25, a few hundred meters northeast of Kupapa`u Point. Since then, a large bench has developed at the E. Kupapa`u entry site. On May 31, a tiny trickle of lava fed through the western tube system dripped into the water about 500 m west of the Kamokuna bench but stopped within a day. Since then, all lava entering the sea has gone through the E. Kupapa`u entry.

The shatter ring is a prominent tumulus near the western branch of the active flow that is a handy reference point for some of our observations.


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Updated: 6 August 2001 (DAS)