The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the lava, which the U.S. Geological Survey said is about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, flowed toward the Pacific Ocean and was about a half mile away from the water.
The active lava flows in the coastal plain are now only about 1 km from the coast. Their advance has slowed down significantly as the lava is now in almost flat terrain and the arriving new lava is mostly “used” to inflate the fresh field and expand its sides, until a main lava tube is established in the coastal flat as well.
It is impossible to predict when lava will be hitting the ocean- this could be within few days or even less or still take weeks (if at all, but it is now extremely likely).
The volcano’s summit is currently undergoing a period of deflation and the lava lake in Halema’uma’u has dropped a bit; yesterday morning, it was 35 meters (115 feet) below the floor of Halema`uma`u crater.
Several vents remain active inside the Pu’u ‘O’o crater on the east rift zone.
The new lava flow southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō continued to be active and made some rapid advance through the coastal plain: when HVO last mapped it Tuesday afternoon, the nearest lava front was only about 1.7 km (1.1 miles) away from the coast, after having advanced nearly 1 km alone since the morning of Monday (i.e. little more than 24 hours).
If the current rapid advance continues, lava might begin to flow into the ocean – and construct new land on Hawai’i – very soon (few days?).
After having descended the steep slope of the pali, the new lava flow now advanced in the flatter coastal plain towards the ocean. As of yesterday, the flow front was about 400 m from the break in slope and still 2.9 km (1.8 mi) away from the sea.
If the recent average speed of advance of approx 140 m per day continues, lava could reach the Pacific in approx. 3 weeks, although it is likely that the advance of the front slows down with distance on flatter ground and it might then take a little longer (although the opposite can become true as well…).
The newest lava flows on Kilauea continue to descend the Pulama pali and reach the coastal plain, where the blocky a’a transforms into the smoother pahoehoe lava.
Our friend and filmmaker Michael Dalton is currently on Hawai’i and sent us some images of the new lava flow descending the pali and reaching the coastal plain.
The new active lava flow headed to the southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō continues to advance and spread laterally. On 28 July it had reached a length of 6.9 km (4.3 mi) from the vent and reached the Pulama pali in the western area of the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision.
Most likely, it will reach the coastal plain today or in the next days, but then slow down and widen, reducing its advance towards the ocean.
At the summit caldera, a phase of deflation is in progress. The level of the Halema’uma’u lava lake dropped by about 10 m (33 ft) during 27-28 June.