volcano tours

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- Strong activity in and around Pu'u O'o in late 2003: erupting skylights, sheet lava flows and hornitos -

11 December 2003: Dome fountain

Photos above and below: Located ca. 2 km SE of Pu'u O'o on the flat rootless shield complex, a ca. 2m-high pulsating dome fountain of very fluid, yellow boiling lava is playing in front of us. The lava supply in the hidden tube beneath us is so large and/or the tube is at least partly blocked at some point, that the lava erupts from its roof (called a skylight), feeding a fast pahoehoe lava flow. Photos taken on 11 December 2003.

Left and middle: The erupting skylight after sunset; it is slowly growing a small cone around itself. - Right photo: In the wide-angle view from a slightly elevated viewpoint, a second very large lava flow from a different close-by vent, probably on the same lava tube, is visible. It was about 10-15m wide, was flowing at around 1m per second, carrying large floating pieces of crust, and came down a fiery  cascade about 3 m high (left part of the image).

11 December 2003: Hornito collapse and lava flood

Suddenly, the base of the new cone above the skylight collapses (1st row middle photo) and gives way to a surge of lava that is quickly flooding the whole area. We are forced to leave our observing position quickly and retreat to higher ground. Around 30 m away from the source, the arriving wave of lava is around 1 m high.