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Saturday
Dec172011

Go With the Flow

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is offering hikers access to a sea cliff area on the eastern border to view the lava flow that is pouring into the ocean from Kilauea volcano's Puu Oo vent.

Named "West Kaili ili" by scientists, the lava reached the ocean-entry site last week.  The last ocean entry within the park was in 2009. Currently, several streams of lava are pouring into the ocean providing dramatic views. Visitors who stay after dark can also see channels of lava flowing down the pali (slope) and across the flow field.

The 4-mile hike to the West Kaili ili entry starts at the bottom of Chain of Craters Road.  If you are not up to the hike, visitors can also view the ocean-entry plume from the end of Chain of Craters Road, near the ranger station. After sunset, flowing lava from Puu Oo has been visible from the turnout on the hairpin curve on Chain of Craters Road, weather permitting. 

Puu Oo, a cinder cone Kilauea volcano’s eastern flanks, which began erupting in January 1983 is among the longest-lasting Hawaiian eruptions in recorded history. Written accounts of eruptions in Hawaii date back to the 1820s, when American missionaries arrived on the Big Island.

Daily updates on Kilauea volcano are available at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

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