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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, February 3, 2005

Lava pouring into sea at two locations

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Lava from Kilauea volcano is entering the ocean in two places at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. It's the first time since mid-December that lava has flowed into the sea.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

One entry point is about 1.5 miles from the parking area at the end of Chain of Craters Road, and the second is about 4.5 miles from the road, said Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Christina Heliker.

Heliker said the flow near an area known as West Highcastle began trickling into the ocean late last week but the volcano is now pumping significant quantities of lava. The flow in an area called Ka'ili'ili began entering the ocean Monday. Both flows originate from a vent on the southwest flank of Pu'u 'O'o.

Park ranger Mardie Lane said about 1,000 people a day have been making the trip down Chain of Craters Road to watch the flow. She expects the crowd to pick up as word spreads that lava has reached the sea again.

On the Web

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park: www.nps.gov/havo

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: hvo.wr.usgs.gov

"Ocean entry is always a major attraction. It's magnetic," she said. "There's just something about ocean entry that calls out to people."

Park officials warn visitors to wear sturdy shoes, bring drinking water and talk with a ranger before attempting to hike to the new flows.

"Visitors are saying that it is well worth the hike," Lane said.

Reach Kevin Dayton at kdayton@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 935-3916.