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Lava flows inch toward the ocean from Puu Oo vent

  • COURTESY: USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORYA small p?hoehoe lobe slowly flows into a crack on the flow field on the coastal plain in this photo taken March 16.
    COURTESY: USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    A small p?hoehoe lobe slowly flows into a crack on the flow field on the coastal plain in this photo taken March 16.
  • COURTESY: USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORYP?hoehoe flows were active on the coastal plain in this photo taken March 8, 2012. The flows extend about 440 yards out from the base of the pali. These flows have about1.7 miles more to travel to reach the ocean. Farther up the hill, on the steep lower portion of the pali, several active 'a'? cascades are visible.
    COURTESY: USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    P?hoehoe flows were active on the coastal plain in this photo taken March 8, 2012. The flows extend about 440 yards out from the base of the pali. These flows have about1.7 miles more to travel to reach the ocean. Farther up the hill, on the steep lower portion of the pali, several active 'a'? cascades are visible.
  • COURTESY: USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORYA P?hoehoe flow on the upper coastal plain extends several hundred feet from the base of the pali in this photo taken on March 16, 2012.
    COURTESY: USGS/HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
    A P?hoehoe flow on the upper coastal plain extends several hundred feet from the base of the pali in this photo taken on March 16, 2012.

Lava from Kilauea’s Puu Oo vent is inching toward the ocean from the coastal plain, where flows are within a mile of entering the water.

The lava flows have advanced more than 5.5 miles southeast of Puu Oo, over the pali and have meandered for more than a week on the coastal plain above the ocean, spreading eastward along an older lava flow.

The flows are also visible from the Hawaii County viewing area at the end of the road in Kalapana.

Scientists released new images of the pahoehoe flow that were taken Friday. Pahoehoe is a Hawaiian word that describes lava with a smooth or ropy surface. Pahoehoe flows typically advance in small lobes that break out from the cooled crust.

The current flow from Pu Oo vent began in August 2011, when the crater flow collapsed and lava began flowing intermittently from vents on the flanks of the cone.

Lava flows advanced through the old Royal Gardens subdivision, destroying the last occupied home there this month.

Lava last entered the ocean in December. There are no current ocean entries.

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