Schoolchildren displaced by the lava flow heading toward Pahoa are the first to tour the closed Pahoa Transfer Station to get an up-close look at the cooled lava and an educational exhibit on the eruption of Kilauea on Monday.
The state Department of Education posted a photo of the students leaving for their field trip Monday morning on its Twitter feed.
The tour is part of a pilot project that could be opened to the public, if successful.
Hawaii County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira said last week that the county worked with the University of Hawaii, the volcano observatory, Hawaii Electric Light Co. and the county Public Works Department to set up four to five informational kiosks with educational displays at the transfer station and a walking tour of the cooled, stalled lava flow that entered the transfer station parking lot and came within a few yards of the building.
The school children are getting the first look at the tour because many of them were relocated to new schools because of the theat that the lava will cut off Highway 130, the main road connecting Pahoa with Hilo.
Meanwhile, the new flow front remained in a flat area about 2.4 miles above the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. It widened, but did not advance much on Sunday.
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists said several downslope paths converge at the flats and its unclear where the lava will go next until the lava reaches and begins flowing downhill along one or more of the paths.
The lava is generally headed toward the Pahoa Marketplace at the Highway 130 intersection, but it could also take a path toward the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.