The new lava flow front above Pahoa advanced another 400 yards Tuesday, but scientists expect the flow to slow over the next few days as it approaches less steep terrain and amount of lava feeding the flow lessens.
An overflight Tuesday morning showed the flow was about 2.7 miles from the intersection of Pahoa Village Road and Highway 130, near the Pahoa Marketplace.
The new flow front is taking a different north-northeast path than the previous flow, which stalled less than 500 yards from Pahoa Village Road near the waste transfer station.
The lava is a little more than a half-mile away from a point where several steep descent lines nearly converge, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said Monday. Geologists said it’s hard to predict where the lava will go until it reaches that point.
Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said that if the flow continues on its steepest-descending path, it could threaten the area where the Pahoa Marketplace shopping center is on Pahoa Village Road near Highway 130. Businesses there include Malama Market, Pahoa Hardware and Pahoa Fresh Fish.
Another path would take the lava east toward the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.
"All of the area downslope from Paradise Park through Pahoa is potentially impacted by these flow lines," said Mike Poland, a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geophysicist.
The lava flow that broke off from the previous flow near an underground crack system and abandoned geothermal well, has been moving at an average rate of about 440 yards a day and advanced 1.7 miles since last week Wednesday, observatory scientists said.
The new flow is narrow, with a width that varies from 33 to 200 yards.
It is not an immediate threat to residents, Civil Defense officials said.
Lava is also active in three areas upslope, east and near the underground crack system and about 2.2 miles downslope from Puu Oo.
"Observations of the stalled flow that extends from the crack system into Pahoa Village indicate that the lava tube is not being reoccupied, and that this lobe of the flow is effectively inactive," scientists said.