Evening Lava report, 6 October 19:00

Someone is doing it better than I am.   I’ll refer you to that site for the official report.  I’ll continue with the the occasional update.


Chopper 1 was there three times today.  The last time for over an hour, so the flow must have started a fire.  When I looked, there were pictures:

You can click and enlarge them.  The thermal photo is pretty interesting.  The black spot near the top of it is where the flow stopped last week.  The interesting part is that it isn’t ‘leaking’.  The lava is coming on pretty strongly and it is absolutely possible that if the magma reserve doesn’t go down, it won’t stop. But at this point the front is only about 230 feet wide. That’s not a disaster by any means.  Normal power poles are further apart than that.  The BIG power poles out on the highway are further apart yet.  A temporary bridge like the one up the Hamakua coast could easily span it.  Water is distributed from both sides of Pahoa for people on county water.  The rest of us are on catchment. No cell towers are threatened.  It will be merely an inconvenience for a little while.

At the newest speed calculated by someone, not me, it could cross cemetary road in about two weeks.  It is still possible for it to stop, or to veer off to the northeast…but in THIS picture, there are white-hot spots at the front of the flow.

It won’t stop as long as it is being fed magma that hot.  It has one mile to go to the dump road and about 1.7 to Old Government Road.

Morning Lava report, 6 October 10:30

Good news and bad news.  The flow is speeding up.  It has advanced ~600 yards since last Wednesday and is now moving at about 15 feet per hour. At it’s present speed and direction, it could cut Cemetary Road in just over two weeks.

The deflation is continuing at the vent, so it might well stop again – but you never know for sure. My little red dot yesterday was exactly correct, within feet. That spot has now been covered by the advance.

Helicopters are coming from all over.  I just saw one from Maui and there have been a couple of local flights this morning already.  There is at least one fixed-wing up right now. People are getting interested.

The FAA restriction for non-relief flights over the lava flow area continues.

Chopper 1 is surveying the flow at 13:20.


Just as ebola is being spread widely across the US, the government says that ebola can’t spread widely across the US.

We shouldn’t worry.  We have the vaccine…right?  Not exactly.

“Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Duncan is in critical condition, adding that the patient is not receiving ZMapp – an experimental medicine – because it is “all gone” and is “not going to be available anytime soon.”

So the people who are quarantined in hospitals with ebola are beginning to die from it.  The problem with ebola is that you may have it and be contageous, but not show any symptoms for up to 21 days – or in rare cases, merely be a carrier and never contract the disease.  Regardless what the government says, this is going to get about as close to Captain Trips as I care to imagine.  Once it gets loose in a major county jail, there will be no possible way to even follow the spread which will immediately become exponential.

This is where the phrase “to go viral” comes from.  Just like the flu, at some point everyone will be exposed to it.

So what is the big worry this month?  Sleeper cells of ISIS jihadists.  Before that?  The evils of owning a firearm.  Do you know what the real problem is?

The real problem is that everyone thinks THEIR problem is the most important problem. Their money. Their relationships. Their families. Their lives.  But all of that is transient.  We come and we go; we live and we die. And instead of leaving something good because it’s good, we want to be paid for doing the right thing – because we are worth it.  No. We aren’t. Look at what we have left for all the future generations that will never exist because we had to have it all NOW. Because we cared for nothing but ourselves.

Lava Prediction, 5 October 20:00

The map is usually updated every two days and the helicopter flew today (in addition to tour helicopters) but the map hasn’t been updated since the third.  Quoting the HVO Kilauea update site, which was last updated at 08:15 this morning, “A Civil Defense overflight this morning observed that the flow front has advanced approximately 90 m (100 yards) since yesterday.”

Because the distances are approximate, and unless I am outside noting the time Chopper 1 flies over my house, I cannot calculate an accurate speed for the flow.  It doesn’t matter much. If it keeps moving, the speed will become important.  It could stop completely, or it could advance at three feet an hour, or it could get a hot rock injection and begin moving a little faster…say a mile an hour.  If it started to speed up after the morning flight, it could theoretically get to Pahoa in a couple of hours instead of a couple of months.  Wouldn’t THAT be interesting!

Anyway, they generally update the map every two days using the morning data, so we can assume it moved ~300 feet in ~24 hours.  That means it has doubled it’s speed of advance since last week to about 12.5 feet an hour.  Just a wee bit faster and it could get to Pahoa by Halloween.

However….the flow is coupled to a deflationary tilt at the vent which means the level of hot soup in the kettle is going down – probably because it’s leaking out toward us.  But when it gets below the new vent again, it will stop again, a new plug will form, and it will have to inflate once more in order to resume. Or not.

There is more.  Mauna Loa seems to be slowly filling up again. Without boring everyone with details, at some point WAAAAAY down there, the sea floor above the earth’s crust is being compressed about 8 km by the weight of Mauna Loa. The more Mauna Loa fills up, the more compression but the fact that it IS filling up means the pressure of the underlying magma is greater than the weight of Mauna Loa.  It also hints, to me at least, that based upon historical data, that a well-informed person would click on this link and read it:  http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2012/3104/fs2012-3104.pdf

Back to the map.  I don’t want to wait two or three days between visual updates, so I am going to start marking the extent of the flow advance once a day.  I won’t know the width or direction, but I can come real close to forward motion and calculate the most probable direction.

This is a test….or, more correctly, a science experiment. The lava should have been about here 12 hours ago, but no guarantees – it might well be twice as far by morning.  (There is a little red dot…just click the picture a few times until it becomes visible.)

5 OCT 08:00