From March 2008 until very early this January, lava was steadily flowing to the ocean at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana on Hawaii’s Big Island. Lava had been flowing through self-formed tubes to the ocean, but the tube system was most likely blocked or collapsed which stopped the flow to the ocean.
The good news is that lava is still visible! Since lava was no longer flowing through the tubes to the ocean, it was forced to break out onto the surface closer to the source near the Kilauea summit. You can see the lava flow down the pali (hill) from the Hawaii County lava viewing point at the end of Highway 130 in Kalapana. The lava flow down the pali is distant, but still very impressive!
The Hawaii County lava viewing point continues to open daily at 5pm. (Note that you must arrive by 8pm to enter the viewing point.) For best lava viewing, ideally you need to be there at sunset and watch it as the night becomes darker. If you are headed to the Big Island to see lava, please review these useful articles:
- How to find out what’s going on with the Big Island lava flow
- Advice for viewing the Big Island lava flow
I wonder what’s next for Kilauea’s lava flow? I’m no volcanologist, but I would guess that if lava continues to flow at the pali, it will eventually make it’s way down to the ocean and once again form a tube system. It will be exciting to see what happens.
In the meantime, check out this video of the current lava flow on the pali. This video was shot by a brave volcano chaser on January 31, 2010. He’s up close and personal with the lava — more so than the general public is advised to be. (Email subscribers, click here to watch the video.)