Watching the current eruption at Kilauea where the western vent fountains and churns leaves one with a practical understanding of how a spatter cone or spatter rampart forms. The blobs and globs of lava land around the vent where they cool. This builds up a substantial edifice around the vent.
The process is illuminating to watch in this current eruption. Every few minutes a large spash or jet of lava escapes the boiling caldron in the middle. The lava spashes across the ground around the vent. At first bright orange, the splash slowly cools and fades to deep red, then dark at it solidifies. The spatter cone is just a little bit bigger.
The spatter cone grows and changes shape daily. Visiting the eruption after a couple weeks one finds the cone drastically reshaped and much larger. Occasional a side will collapse and the process begins anew.
While it might seem fun to get a closer look at the current vent, this idea is also a quick way to die, the gasses and heat would quickly kill anyone who approached too closely.Continue reading “Spatter Cone”
One of the things I remembered to do on my second visit to the lava lake was to shoot a panorama set of the lake surface. The result has been assembled here, click on the image to get a full sized version for viewing..
The lake has a number of interesting features most visitors miss when viewing the active vent. The remnant of an older vent can be seen as the rough area on the far side, while on the near side is the raft or floating island that remains from the previous lava lake earlier in the year. Both of these features appear to be floating as they rise along with the lake level.
According to the latest USGS report the lake is approximately eight meters (26 feet) higher at the western end near the active vent than the eastern end. The level has risen about 51 meters (167 feet) since this eruption stated on September 29th for a total volume of 19.9 million cubic meters (5.3 billion gallons) of new lava. An interesting raised edge is visible along the active margin with the thick inactive crust that has formed over the last month.
Once was not enough, I had to do it again. The allure of lava too much I planned yet another run across island in the middle of the night to see the lava at Kilauea.
This time Deb would come along, mistakenly agreeing to to 0130 alarm clock and possibly regretting it as she climbed out of bed. Thus we drove through the night passing through the park gates a little before 4am.
A larger crowd greeted us this time. The parking lot was lamost half full and there were more folks passing us on the walk out to the viewpoint.
This trip would feature a bit of moonlight over the caldera rather than the dark skies of two weeks ago, a quarter moon in the eastern sky. I had hoped for a few thin moonlit clouds to use in the compositions, but this did not happen. The morning was completely cloud free over the caldera, and nearly calm, the plume rising striaght up from the lava.Continue reading “Yet Another Volcano Run”
The usual plan… A 2am departure from the house, a 4am arrival at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, at the lava while it is still full dark, enjoy the show through the dawn, then go find breakfast.
Exiting the vehicle after the long drive I was greeted by a serene silence and bright stars. Orion and the Pleiades were bright and directly overhead. I had to pause and just breathe in the damp forest smells, gazing upwards to the heavens.
There were another half dozen vehicles in the large parking lot at Devastation Trail. I was not going to be alone at the viewpoint, but it was not going to be crowded either. Reports online have mentioned large crowds in the evening, with even the Park Service recommending a morning visit.Continue reading “Volcano Run”