There has been so little activity at the flow front lately that the Hawaii County officials have put much of their emergency plans on hold. Pahoa Village Road is opening back up on Thanksgiving, and life seems to be getting back to normal for most. So does this mean our danger from the flow is over? Maybe, but I wouldn't bet on it.
The geologists still can't predict with any certainty what is going to happen next. But what is certain, for now anyway, is that there is still lava coming down the mountain towards Pahoa. It might be a few miles up slope but it's still there. So clearly the source has not dried up and unless it does, more lava is certainly coming our way.
As I learned from watching the USGS produced video 'What to expect- Lava Flows in Puna', this stalling of the lava front is very normal. Lava doesn't necessarily just keep flowing endlessly like water would. It cools and slows as it goes. So it is common for the front of the flow to harden up and make it appear that the lava has stopped altogether. But there will still be activity farther up slope. That appears to be what is happening now. There are new breakouts several miles above Pahoa. From the video I learned that one of those breakouts will, more than likely, soon become the new active flow front. It may come down the same path next to the earlier flow front, or it might pick a new path altogether. Where it will come next time no one knows for sure. But we can pretty much count on it showing back up somewhere.
But for now we sure are enjoying life without much daily talk of lava flows!
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