Kilauea’s Rivers of Lava

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Kilauea continues to erupt without signs of abating. Aerial video, like this footage from Mick Kalber, shows the scope of the flow. Lava spurts like a hellish fountain from various fissures, then forms a gravity current that slowly flows downhill toward the ocean. Some of the angles give you an excellent view of the texture atop the flowing lava; it looks relatively rope-like now before solidification, indicating pahoehoe flow. Whether the flow will transition to the rougher appearance of a’a lava remains to be seen; as the lava cools and crystallizes, it may develop a yield strength. That would make it similar to fluids like your toothpaste, which only flow once a critical force is applied. Stay safe, Hawaiians! (Image and video credit: M. Kalber; via Colossal)

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