What's New at Kilauea Volcano?

Ocean Entries - July 1999

As we have seen in several other parts of Virtually Hawai, it is always fascinating to see lava flow entering the ocean. Giant steam plumes often form and if you are lucky there are moving lava flows on the "bench" right next to the coast. As we saw in March (see the previous What's New), there can also be explosions at the coast when ocean water gets trapped in lava tubes and causes steam explosions. The plumes produced here can be traced around the southern tip of the Big Island, and are clearly seen by astronauts flying on the Space Shuttle.

We did not see any explosions during our flight this time, but from the air the discoloration of the water off-shore was very prominent. Thermal infrared data collected over this water on previous occassions shows that the temperature can be over 50°C for quite a distance away from the shore, while scuba divers report nearly boiling water right be the lava.


See the next part of the July '99 flight here!