Kilauea’s fireworks show continues as lava slowly advances to the ocean on a coastal plain.
The images show the slow-moving ripples of pahoehoe lava flowing over the old lava flows that make up the plain. Rocky, fast-moving aa lava is visible falling down the Pulama pali. However, much of the aa flow over the pali has been covered by hardened lava.
Lava reached the pali near the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision last week.
Since then, the front of the flow began to spread out and advanced about a quarter mile toward the ocean. The flow has traveled a little more than 4.7 miles since it began on May 24 on the east slope of Puu Oo and was about 1.8 miles from the ocean this morning.
Since Thursday, the flow has been advancing at a rate of about 153 yards per day, scientists said.
Hawaii County opened a lava viewing and parking area Thursday night, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily, that allows visitors to park at the end of the paved road in Kalapana and walk 3 miles along a gravel emergency access road to the entrance of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
County officials reminded people planning to walk the access road that much of the lava-covered land around the road is private property and the public access is limited to the road.
Also, restroom facilities are limited and there is no potable water. People planning to hike should bring appropriate clothing and shoes, protection from the sun, water and a flashlight, if walking back in the dark.
The flow is within the park and it’s also possible to walk another 8 miles roundtrip from the access road to the flow.
However, officials caution that the hike may be difficult for beginners. It goes over sharp, hardened lava with deep crevices.
It is also dangerous to get close to a lava flow. The fumes generated by the lava are hazardous and there is a danger of methane gas explosions from the build-up of gases created when lava overruns vegetation.
The current flow began on May 24 and has traveled about 4.7 miles from its origin on the east slope of the Puu Oo vent.
The last lava flow to reach the plain and the ocean, the 2011 Peace Day flow, flowed into the sea for several months from November 2012 to the beginning of 2013.
Scientists said the current flow could also reach the ocean, but lava flows are notoriously unpredictable and the flow could also stop and stall before reaching the sea.