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19 07 2008

The ocean entry was spectacular on Tuesday. It’s the terminus of a series of lava tubes that issue from Pu`u O`o, a parasitic eruption site on Kilauea’s flank. The ocean entry had dried up completely for a while after the lava fountain from one of my earlier posts began, but it’s back and better than ever. Instead of just oozing into the ocean or producing small explosions, the lava was shooting between 40-50 feet in the air. I saw 3 flashes of lightning in the plume while I was there. That’s a newly observed phenomenon that had just started the day. Like I said, spectacular. I’ll just shut up and let you see for yourself.

It was after 7PM when I arrived, but a full moon illuminated the plume and water quite a bit.

The plume was creating massive disturbances in the surrounding atmosphere. You can see a waterspout to the left of the plume. Genuinely amazing.

In that one the lava was reaching for the ocean as well as for the land. The entire time I was there the eruption was building a spatter rampart (a wall-like structure of ejected lava). Remember, the lava is 40-50 feet high in these photos.

So yes, all of you who were waiting on tenterhooks for actual lava…there you have it! I’ve never heard a group of entirely disparate people, young and old, all ooh and ahh like I did on Tuesday. Adults failed to disguise the outright wonder in their voices, and children decided to inform everyone else that this was much, much better than fireworks. I could’ve watched it forever. The earth doesn’t get any newer than this…or more beautiful.

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5 responses

19 07 2008
thenightblog

holy cow. what a place to be, huh.

19 07 2008
Dad

It sounds like this made up for the disappointing 4th of July fireworks, honey. Please post more of these as soon as you can.

19 07 2008
Daniel

This looks spectatcular! I doubt fireworks could ever compare. Please post more!

21 07 2008
melissa

Absolutely amazing jess! This def makes up for my fireworkless 4th. I have always wanted to see an exploding volcano. I can live vicariously through you. Hope your knee is better!

21 07 2008
Mom

WOW!!! Now I’m sure I should have been a geologist! How cool is that??? Keep the pictures coming!!!! Love you, Mom

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