July 26, 2010 – Kalapana, Hawaii
According to the latest from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, lava is still flowing eastward in the direction of the Kalapana Gardens subdivsion.
In a 4:30 p.m. update, the HVO says the lava has advanced about 425 feet in the past 24 hours. “A nearly continuously active flow front is creeping into a remaining and topographically low kipuka at the western edge of the subdivision,” the update said, “causing small brush fires and methane explosions.”
Meanwhile, a new lava ocean entry is beginning to form a small delta. “It appears, however,” says the HVO, “that the amount of lava reaching the ocean is less than the amount feeding the eastward-advancing flows. A few small breakouts near the western end of Hakuma horst were making no headway toward the ocean.”
In earlier updates, HVO had written that a robust ocean entry would likely slow down the speed of the advancing lava flow. It appears, at least at this moment, that hasn’t happened.
HVO also reports minor scattered lava flows remain active about half a mile west and upslope of the Highway 137 flow.
As the lava spectacle draws thousands to the remote Puna location to witness the event, tensions are rising with land owners who continually find people on their property, hoping for a closer view. HVO reminds the public: “Kalapana Gardens is a private subdivision and access will only be granted to subdivision residents. Private property borders highway 130 through Kalapana and no one is allowed access off the highway easement. Hawaii County Police will be monitoring the area.”
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is now issuing updates twice daily, detailing the advance of the lava flow that threatens to burn down more residential homes if its current direction continues. Resident Gary Sleik lost his home – the westernmost of those in the area – to Pele’s fire early Sunday morning.