Jump to content
Kim

Lava watch

Recommended Posts

Ken Johnson

I always feel conflicted about these sorts of things. A dichotomy of emotion.

On the one hand there is the very human story of people being forced to abandon their homes, watch their gardens slowly burn.

On the other hand, I'm a geologist and this is amazing stuff to watch!

Hope everybody stays safe, take bazillions of pictures and video! (put stuff in the lava and watch it blow up!)

What is the best stuff to blow up? :innocent:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funkthulhu

cans of coke

Gasoline

Themite. . .

Throw in a big hunk of dry ice just to see what happens!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry@TreeZoo

If it is still going at Thanksgiving, you should try a turkey.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DoomsDave

cans of coke

Gasoline

Themite. . .

Throw in a big hunk of dry ice just to see what happens!

Well, at least it's not one of those Vesuvian ("Plinian"?) eruptions.

Hmm. How about the (future) explosion of Mr. Ranier? :crying:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave-Vero

A friend and colleague made the move with his family to Hilo years ago. Successful transplants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

Latest news, as reported on the USGS lava update, is that the front had stalled as of 5 pm this afternoon. It's 155 metres from Pahoa Village Road. Probably not wise to read too much into this because it can resume at a moment's notice. This is also a repeat of what happened a few weeks ago when the front stalled short of Apa'a Street. There were breakouts further upslope and after a few days those breakouts caught up with the front, and continued downhill towards Apa'a Street. Same thing can happen now. A pahoehoe flow moves like an underground river. There's a constant flow of lava pouring out from Pu'u O'o, heading down this long slope towards Pahoa beneath the hardened surface. The active lava flow under the surface will seek out the weakest point in the hardened surface to break through. Many times that's on the sides of the flow, but it will still continue downhill once it's broken through. And sometimes it could be at the front of the flow. Bottom line - something will still happen. We just don't know when or how. But any delay is obviously potentially good news - it'll just be a while before we know HOW good. And it could be a long while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry@TreeZoo

Looking at how they are protecting the utility poles with concrete jackets, it occurred to me that a similar strategy might work on the roads. I am guessing that they don't want to build over a relatively recent flow due to fear of causing a breakout or of the "flow inflation" I read about on the lava website.

Why not install concrete piers along the highway that would be above any projected flow and use them to build a bridge? I am sure brighter minds have addressed the issue of roads. How long after a flow can you just build a road over the top of it? I see the geologists walking on flows only a week (?) old. Maybe by the time the flow front reaches the improvised beach road or railway road, 130 could be rebuilt over the flow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

Jerry,

First of all, about walking on the (hardened) flow. A quick story, and apologies if I have already told it... Many years ago I was out on one of my many visits to the active lava flow, at that time inside the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. A group of people were standing right next to the active flow and I asked the park ranger "how soon can you walk on the flow?". He pointed to the red hot 2000F degree lava and said "you can walk on it RIGHT NOW! Assuming you have shoes that can handle the heat". :bemused: Active lava may act like water in that it seeks a lower level but it's also very dense. Like thick molasses.

As to the issue of installing concrete piers and building bridges. On the face of it, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to keep one crucial thing in mind - the almost total unpredictability of the flow - at least for how long it will keep coming. Many of the roads here in lower Puna have simply been "rolled out" over the terrain without the slightest attempt to level out the surface. Reason being that you never know if a flow is going to take out the road at some point in the near or distant future, and why waste money with all this uncertainty? About the current scenario: even though the flow front currently is fairly narrow, and from an engineering point of view it would probably be a pretty straightforward thing to build some sort of bridge, the long term uncertainty makes it less attractive. If the flow continues for months or years, it can widen from the current 200 ft to 1,000 ft and 3,000 ft and over time there is no limit to how wide it can get. After all, the entire Big Island is made up of thousands of flows over the past million years or so. Bottom line: as long as a flow is active I don't believe anyone in authority would take it upon themselves to spend public money building a bridge (for instance).

Bo-Göran

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

Jerry,

It occurred to me that I didn't answer your "how soon" question in a more useful way. And too late to edit my post above. I have never tried this, but I'm guessing it's perfectly possible to walk on a flow the very same day. Maybe after a couple of hours, even though the heat would probably feel uncomfortable. I am convinced it's no problem whatsoever to walk on an active flow with a hardened surface the very next day. What would be somewhat disturbing to the uninitiated is that as you walk across the lava (and a hardened pahoehoe flow is, for the most part, very smooth and easy to walk on) you constantly walk across long cracks, about an inch or so wide, and just inches below you is the 2000 degree hot lava. You can see it and you can most definitely feel the heat.

Bo-Göran

EDIT - just saw this morning's USGS update (40 minutes ago). The front is still stalled, 155 metres from Pahoa Village Road, but there are scattered outbreaks only 70 metres behind the front. Any one of these could of course head downhill and overtake the front. Or the front could become active again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
palmazon

cans of coke

Gasoline

Themite. . .

Throw in a big hunk of dry ice just to see what happens!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tjwalters

I've been wondering why they can't use explosives to divert the flow back to the ocean, as it was heading a couple years ago if I remember correctly. Possible? Has it ever been tried?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cindy Adair

such interesting posts! Thanks everyone for telling us more than the news and making it personal. I am thinking of all of you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moose

Jerry,

It occurred to me that I didn't answer your "how soon" question in a more useful way. And too late to edit my post above. I have never tried this, but I'm guessing it's perfectly possible to walk on a flow the very same day. Maybe after a couple of hours, even though the heat would probably feel uncomfortable. I am convinced it's no problem whatsoever to walk on an active flow with a hardened surface the very next day. What would be somewhat disturbing to the uninitiated is that as you walk across the lava (and a hardened pahoehoe flow is, for the most part, very smooth and easy to walk on) you constantly walk across long cracks, about an inch or so wide, and just inches below you is the 2000 degree hot lava. You can see it and you can most definitely feel the heat.

Bo-Göran

EDIT - just saw this morning's USGS update (40 minutes ago). The front is still stalled, 155 metres from Pahoa Village Road, but there are scattered outbreaks only 70 metres behind the front. Any one of these could of course head downhill and overtake the front. Or the front could become active again.

I just finished looking at yesterday's USGS 11:00 am up date. It sure does look like there are multiple outbreaks upstream. Looks like it may continue to widen like Bo mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry@TreeZoo

Jerry,

It occurred to me that I didn't answer your "how soon" question in a more useful way. And too late to edit my post above. I have never tried this, but I'm guessing it's perfectly possible to walk on a flow the very same day. Maybe after a couple of hours, even though the heat would probably feel uncomfortable. I am convinced it's no problem whatsoever to walk on an active flow with a hardened surface the very next day. What would be somewhat disturbing to the uninitiated is that as you walk across the lava (and a hardened pahoehoe flow is, for the most part, very smooth and easy to walk on) you constantly walk across long cracks, about an inch or so wide, and just inches below you is the 2000 degree hot lava. You can see it and you can most definitely feel the heat.

Bo-Göran

EDIT - just saw this morning's USGS update (40 minutes ago). The front is still stalled, 155 metres from Pahoa Village Road, but there are scattered outbreaks only 70 metres behind the front. Any one of these could of course head downhill and overtake the front. Or the front could become active again.

I just finished looking at yesterday's USGS 11:00 am up date. It sure does look like there are multiple outbreaks upstream. Looks like it may continue to widen like Bo mentioned.

Yes, and it pays to have Palm Talk eye witness "boots on the ground", so to speak, to give us the local story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Case

It has been 3 days since have heard anything form our boots on the ground reporters.....Bo, Justin, or Kim,....any update for us worrywarts on the mainland?

Thanks,

JC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

The front has remained stalled for the past nine days, 155 metres upslope from Pahoa Village Road. While it's obviously better for it to be stalled than for it to be moving forward, the potential danger is by no means over. There's still plenty of activity further upslope, and in time any one of those active flows could head down the hill, pass the front and keep going - cutting off a number of roads in the process. Below is a link to an interesting video (thanks KPL for forwarding it! :) ) - it shows the ongoing work on Chain of Craters Road, cut off by the lava flow some 28 years ago. It's possible to get a tiny glimpse of the vastness of the lava fields these bulldozers are cruising through by watching the video. Some of the comments made should probably be taken with a grain of salt. The various government agencies involved in this project are still in the process of working out the finer (and not so fine) details how, and when, all this will be agreed on. Part of the issue is that most of Chain of Craters Road is inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2014/11/06/video-will-use-chain-craters-road/

PS - bepah - I was typing this as you posted! Good timing! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

And a picture (#1) to illustrate the vastness of the landscape where Chain of Craters Road will go (and once went). This was on a seven hour hike across these barren fields last year. The tiny white dot in the distance in the first photo is the sign shown in photo #2.

post-22-0-84289900-1415407147_thumb.jpg

post-22-0-99371200-1415407165_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry@TreeZoo

Are a lot of people dipping their egg-beaters and other kitchen utensils into the the hot lava?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

Are a lot of people dipping their egg-beaters and other kitchen utensils into the the hot lava?

Not likely. The active flows aren't accessible. Just a few days ago, two individuals were arrested because they were trying to reach an area with an active flow. The active flows are either on government land (most of them) or on private property (in a few cases just upslope from Pahoa Village Road). This is very different from all the years when the active flows were heading south, through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, to the ocean. HVNP has park rangers on hand at all times, and there were no limitations on access - anyone could walk right up to the flow, assuming the 2,000 degree hot lava didn't bother you! :mrlooney: Darryl Oliveira, Civil Defense Director, has stated that if and when the flow begins to move forward, potentially crossing the roads, then there will be viewing sites for the general public. But these viewing sites will be at (what they consider) a safe distance away from the active flow. As it is right now, the barricade at the post office intersection is about 150-200 metres away from where the flow will cross the road - assuming it does that. And that particular area will probably be kept open for the simple reason that the post office is right there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Case

Bo,

Thanks for the update. To tell the truth, I worry about all you on the island, which I consider the only perfect place on earth. Please take care and keep us posted. I am trying to convince Diana that this may be a time to consider a purchase of a lot or two in Leilani....at this point, she is deaf to my pleas.

Thanks aqain,

JC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jerry@TreeZoo

Are a lot of people dipping their egg-beaters and other kitchen utensils into the the hot lava?

Just a few days ago, two individuals were arrested because they were trying to reach an area with an active flow.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/01/pahoa-lava-trespassers-arrested_n_6085416.html

o-RUTH-CRAWFORD-LAVA-MIXER-570.jpg?12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ken Johnson

Still stalled?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kim

At the front of the flow, yes, since Oct. 30, but active well back from the front:

June 27th Lava Flow Observations: HVO scientists were on the ground on Saturday monitoring the progress of the lava flow. The leading edge of the flow had not advanced beyond where it stalled on October 30, in a residential area approximately 155 meters (170 yards) above Pāhoa Village Road. Breakouts were observed in areas upslope of the leading edge, the lowest of which was active about 400 meters (440 yards) above the stalled flow front. A breakout above Apaʻa Street continued moving towards the transfer station, and was at a distance of about 100 m (110 yards). A new, narrow breakout was also observed on the south side of the flow, 550 m (600 yards) above Apaʻa Street; this breakout extended about 160 m (175 yards) downslope over the previous day. An overflight by County Civil Defense on Sunday morning confirmed that the leading edge of the flow remains stalled, and noted active breakouts approximately 1.1 km (0.7 miles) to 2.4 km (1.5 miles) above Apaʻa Street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WestCoastGal

I heard on our news tonight that the first house was claimed by the lava. No video but they said the family watched for closure. Can't imagine if it was our house, feel terrible for them. Thankfully the movement has been painfully slow so arrangements could be made so the contents weren't a loss too. A few days ago we saw footage of a family who's family's tombstone in the cemetery had been spared so far. Just one lonely headstone among the lava. I'm not one to visit cemeteries but for those that do, I feel badly for the families that have gravesites under the lava now.

I know there is no real way of knowing, but do locals think the transfer station will get taken out? Not sure what the terrain is there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bgl

The terrain close to transfer station is fairly level. The "common consensus", if there's such a thing, is pretty simple: if the flow continues for an extended period of time, it's very likely that it will spread out sideways (which is actually happening right now and has been happening for a while), and if so, the transfer station is probably going to be overrun. And as far as people losing their homes, as terrible as it must be, they've had a LOT of time to accept that this is very likely to happen. Lots of people here have a very fatalistic attitude, as in "if Pele is on the move, and about to take out my house, there's nothing we can, or even should, do to try to prevent that". Looking at the detailed map, there's a house with a very bright red roof between the current stalled front and Pahoa Village Road. The blue flow line goes RIGHT through it. I happen to know the family who lived in that house for many years and was talking with the (adult) son a few days ago in Pahoa, and he had just been in the house a few days earlier. It's obviously empty now. And he was pretty matter-of-fact that, yeah, sooner or later the house is probably going to be hit by the lava and destroyed. Granted, they "only" rented the house, so may be slightly different from someone who actually owns it. But still probably a good example of how people here, including those who live in the path of the flow, see likely upcoming events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
peachy

As no stranger to natural disasters, I was wondering about the Leilani Estate when I saw the lava flow on tv. My advice is to list what you want to take to safety and what to leave behind and be prepared to let go of things. They can all be replaced eventually, even a garden. As for appeasing Pele.....there's never a virgin around when you need one !

Peachy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WestCoastGal

Not looking good for the transfer station as of 11/12, and as Bo mentioned the widening of the flow was probably likely and that appears to be what has been happening in the last two days of tracking it.

post-5191-0-46511800-1415922649_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SailorBold

Amazing.. disheartening. Has anyone built homes on stilts? maybe off the ground? I guess another question would be.. How soon would you be able to start putting palms back in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kim

Stilts and the house would have to be constructed of material that can withstand temperatures of more than 2000F. Even concrete doesn't hold up well to that. I suppose you could build a structure made of lava rock, but everything in it would cook.

How soon to plant palms again? Coconut palms planted by locals and visitors are growing on the lava at Kaimu Beach, where in 1990 the lava covered Kalapana and its famous black sand beach. I'm not sure when the palm-planting began, but of the many hundreds planted, none are overhead yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Justin

Kim, I've wondered about that. Kalapana gets not nearly the rain we do, and none of the palms were planted with any dirt or mulch (that I'm aware of), plus a lot of salt spray. My guess would be that in Pahoa or Leilani, with some cinder soil in the hole, some mulch on top, and plenty of rain, stuff would actually grow pretty well, and not too differently from our current gardens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Justin

Stalled for multiple days now, with no activity near town (but instead way uphill, near Pu'u O'o). Fingers firmly crossed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...