Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lava Update

Everyone seems to be emailing me about the lava. I suppose that the mainland news has finally picked up the story. First of all, I'm in no danger. The eruption, which has been ongoing since 1983, is a two hour drive away. Though not impacting me, it surely is impacting people living in the Puna district. 

The lava flow is slow. So people have plenty of time to do something about it. Most people in the projected path of the lava have chosen to either evacuate or are prepared to leave. One house owner has opted to bulldoze a 10-12' high berm along the back of his property in hopes of changing the lava's path. Everyone is curious to see if it works. Of course if it works that will mean the the lava will flow over the neighbor's land instead. 

The lava has already covered half of a cemetery, but at this time has missed the building there. That doesn't mean that it's safe. The lava could easily still destroy the building over the next few days. On an adjacent pasture, a shed/shelter got demolished. Being metal, it didn't burn. But this afternoon a large, emptied farm shed took a direct hit and completely burned up. By luck the lava flow has missed that landowner's home. But again, it's not home clear. The lava as it advances could still reach the home and burn it. 

The lava flow doesn't appear to be getting ready to stop. Everyone has been hoping that it was going to stop as the flow slowed down, but alas that hasn't been the case. Unless the volcano takes a sudden change, the lava will continue to flow at least long enough to enter the town of Pahoa. 

Living with this volcano is a way of life here. In Puna district the lava flows slowly. They are lucky, really. On my side the lava flows move very quickly. People on my side get very little advance warning that the lava is headed their way. But on my side, eruptions give plenty of warning that they are going to happen. It's just that you have to be quick to get out of the way. 
Update 10/30/14

The lava has just reached to bulldozed berm area. Everyone is wondering what will happen. Time shall tell. 

This aerial view shows the lava approaching the berms. The front has stalled pretty much at the moment. Very little forward movement. But it's not dead by any means. Lava is constantly oozing out around the edges, expanding the flow field. It keeps getting wider. In the follow photo you can see trees burning due to small lava outbreaks along the edges. 


  1. Wow. I'm glad you're not under threat. Quite amazing, especially for us mainlanders. Good explanation and great post. This is why I love the internet and meeting other bloggers!

  2. Leigh, there's a chance that in the future our farm will be under a similar lava threat. Mauna Loa is overdue for an eruption. Will it happen in my lifetime? Possibly. But at least Mauna Loa historically gives lots of warning.